Ben Roethlisberger is not yet ready to commit to this being his final season with the Steelers.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday that Roethlisberger has told members of the Steelers organization that 2021 would be his final season in Pittsburgh. It stands to reason that the 39-year-old quarterback would consider retirement after the season ends; he is in the final year of his contract and his play has declined in recent years.
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When he was asked about his future after the Steelers’ 20-19 win over the Ravens on Sunday, Roethlisberger said he’ll talk about it later. Right now, he said, he’s just thinking about the next game.
“I haven’t told everybody that,” he said with a laugh. “Honestly, we just got done with this game. I’m exhausted. We played a couple hours it feels like, so that’s my focus. My focus is on Minnesota (the Steelers play the Vikings on Thursday night) and what we have to do to get ready. I’ll address any of that stuff after the season. I’ve always been a one-game-at-a-time, one-season-at-a-time person.”
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So, if Roethlisberger has made a decision about his future, he’s keeping it mum.
Why might he be doing that? Perhaps he doesn’t want to become a distraction, though Steelers coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t appear remotely concerned about that possibility.
“There’s nothing to manage. Ben doesn’t it allow it to become an issue,” Tomlin said Sunday postgame. “It is not a distraction. I thought it was funny that it was seemingly a story this week, to be quite honest with you.”
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Tomlin could know more than he’s letting on, but the point is moot. What matters is that the Steelers plan to continue starting Roethlisberger this season. That’s their focus right now.
Perhaps Roethlisberger and the Steelers will open up about his future if the Steelers slip out of the playoff race, but for now, Big Ben and the Steelers are on to Minnesota.