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Rumor: ‘Optimism’ surrounding Ben Roethlisberger’s return to Steelers in 2021

Ben Roethlisberger, Chase Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be awaiting the decision of Ben Roethlisberger this offseason on whether he will return next season or not.

With Roethlisberger taking some time to make a decision, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports that there is “optimism” that he will return in 2021.

Last month, before the playoffs began, ESPN’s Adam Schefter shared that Roethlisberger was leaning toward returning for his 18th season in 2021. However, that was before the Steelers lost in embarrassing fashion against the Cleveland Browns in the AFC Wild Card Game.

Roethlisberger finished last week’s contest with 68 passing attempts for 501 yards and four touchdowns while he also tossed four interceptions. It was an abysmal performance for Roethlisberger and the Steelers as their offense was non-existent to begin the game, going down 28-0 in the first quarter.

Throughout the regular season, Roethlisberger threw for 3,803 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in his 17th season. After undergoing season-ending elbow surgery in 2019, it was evident throughout the 2020 season that his arm is no longer the same.

His inability to consistently throw the deep ball and lack of mobility limited Pittsburgh’s offense, which caused them to lose five of their last six games in 2020. If Roethlisberger does choose to return to the Steelers in 2021, he would command a league-high $41 million cap hit.

While Roethlisberger is no longer the same quarterback he once was, signs point toward him being the starter for Pittsburgh next season. Even though he’s had thoughts of walking away from the game in recent seasons, Roethlisberger likely wants to try to end his career on a high note.