Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl champion, said Friday he would not commit to playing beyond the upcoming NFL season, his 14th NFL campaign.
“Big Ben,” who turns 36 next March, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in an interview published Friday that retirement following the 2017 season is a serious consideration.
“I feel if I commit to anything past right now, I’m cheating now,” Roethlisberger told the newspaper. “I’m looking forward to this season and I’m going to give it everything I have and afterwards we’ll sit down and do some (thinking) again.”
Roethlisberger, who guided Pittsburgh to Super Bowl triumphs over Seattle in 2006 and Arizona in 2009, will equal Terry Bradshaw for the longest tenure as a Steelers quarterback entering this season.
He said that his wife, Ashley, wants to see him put away his helmet and jersey for good.
“It’s 14 years — that’s a long time,” Roethlisberger said. “I think the average life expectancy in the NFL is three years, maybe 3 1/2 now. I’ve been blessed to do this a long time.
“It’s just seeing my kids growing up and in the off-season I love getting to spend time with them and then I come here and football season just has to take up so much of your time, even when you get home. I try my best to turn it off when I walk in the front door. I think I do a pretty good job of that but it still consumes you in a way.”
Roethlisberger, the Steelers’ starting quarterback since being taken in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft, hinted at retirement after Pittsburgh lost to eventual champion New England in the American Conference final last January, but announced last April he would return for the 2017 season.
“Being healthy, being able to play catch with my kids, just all those things combined,” Roethlisberger told the newspaper.
“I feel good mentally, I know this new study that came out that 90 percent (of NFL) players’ brains who were studied had CTE (a degenerative brain disease caused by blows to the head).
“There are a lot of scary things and I think my wife would be OK if I hung it up, too. But I still love the guys, I still love the game, so it was right for me to come back and give it everything I have this year.”
Roethlisberger threw for 3,819 yards and 29 touchdowns with 13 interceptions over 14 games in 2016. He is the Steelers’ all-time leader in passing yards with 46,814 and touchdowns with 301 in 185 career games.
Join GhanaStar.com to receive daily email alerts of breaking news in Ghana. GhanaStar.com is your source for all Ghana News. Get the latest Ghana news, breaking news, sports, politics, entertainment and more about Ghana, Africa and beyond.