Rumblings of the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback retiring from the NFL have been getting a bit louder lately. But for a guy who has suffered multiple concussions during his career and is about to turn 35 years old, leaving the game behind may actually be his best option.
Entering the league almost 13 years ago, Roethlisberger has turned out to be everything and more that the Steelers were hoping for when they selected him with the 11th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft.
During his career, he has led the franchise to two Super Bowl wins, six NFC North division titles, and eight playoff appearances. He holds the team’s all-time records for wins, passing yards, passing touchdowns, and passer rating.
Attempting to say that he is the greatest quarterback to ever suit up in a Steelers uniform would be an easy argument to win. Former Pittsburgh signal caller Terry Bradshaw may have more Super Bowl wins (four), but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Roethlisberger has been the best to sling the football for the franchise that dons the black and yellow.
But throughout his time in the NFL, the current Steelers quarterback has been the victim of bone-crushing hit after bone-crushing hit. Of the active signal callers in the league right now, Roethlisberger has been sacked the absolute most (456) and in 2008 he was taken off the field in a stretcher after sustaining a brutal blow to the head.
More is known today than ever before about the after-effects of a player getting pounded into the ground year after year during their NFL career. Perhaps Roethlisberger does not want to become just another former player that can barley walk up the stairs when he grows older.
Sure, some will remember the Pittsburgh quarterback for the troubles he ran into during the earlier part of his time in the league. He basically broke his face after a reckless motorcycle accident in 2006 and he was accused of rape not once, but twice back in 2009 and 2010.
He was never convicted of any of the crimes he was charged with, but it is certainly something that sticks in people’s minds to this day. Now married and the father of three young children, it seems as though Roethlisberger has moved on from his wild days of partying.
The quarterback did struggle a bit as the 2016 season came to a close (nine interceptions in the team’s final six games). But there is no reason to think that he cannot bounce back next year and once again be among the NFL’s most dominant passers.
However, If he is truly thinking about retiring, Roethlisberger should not be afraid to walk away. His career on the football field has been one that most quarterbacks dream of having, but also one that is not in dire need of extending.