Pittsburgh Steelers: Big Ben will be done, when he’s done

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's retirement talk always filled with drama.

(Photo credit/Keith Allison)

Apparently, Ben Roethlisberger isn’t as close to retirement as we were once led to believe. Judging by some recent comments, Big Ben might play until he feels full from drinking out of the Fountain of Youth with Tom Brady.

The same guy who considered retirement last season, questioned during a radio interview the Pittsburgh Steelers’ decision to pick Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph in the third round of last week’s draft. And, depending which reports you believe, the 36-year-old, two-time Super Bowl champion and future Hall of Famer doesn’t seem sure about what his future holds.

It’s May, which means we have plenty of time for Roethlisberger to change his mind at least a half-dozen times before the Super Bowl ends.

He’s still the man

Roethlisberger believes the Steelers could have used that third-round pick to address a more immediate need, rather than a project. Roethlisberger’s response to the selection was interesting considering he should understand that the organization is trying to set itself up for the future. 

Is Roethlisberger hinting that he’s really not ready to hang up the cleats after this season? Or is he actually not willing to admit it’s time to call it a career, despite what he’s mentioned in the past. Perhaps it is a little of both.

For any successful athlete, especially the caliber of Roethlisberger, actually ending your playing career is a lot harder than saying you plan to do so. He’s overcome injuries and off-field issues to remain one of the game’s top quarterbacks on a team that annually contends for the Super Bowl. That can be hard to walk away from, even when it seems like there is no longer a good reason to continue.

Next man up

The decision to take Rudolph, at least from this standpoint, makes complete sense. Rudolph is coming off back-to-back seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards. He almost threw for 5,000 while tossing 37 touchdowns during his final year in Stillwater and beat out Heisman winner and No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield for the Unitas Award, honoring the nation’s best senior quarterback.

And there is no rush.

With the serviceable Landry Jones still in the backup role, Rudolph has the time to be developed and nurtured within the organization and has a good potential mentor in Big Ben. Seems like a good situation for all involved, and one would think Roethlisberger could see that and support it.

Then again, maybe Roethlisberger believes Jones, who is entering his fourth season in Pittsburgh, is the right man for the job when the time comes. Or at least is playing the loyalty card for the moment.

Beyond this season, the quarterback situation in Pittsburgh remains an uncertainty and no matter what Roethlisberger has to say going forward, until he actually walks away from football, it’s wise not to believe anything.

  1. How many more seasons should Big Ben play?

    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3 or more
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