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Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger Announces Retirement After 18 Seasons; Won 2 Super Bowls

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 27, 2022

AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday after 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

BigBen7.com @_BigBen7

A message from Ben:<a href="https://twitter.com/steelers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@steelers</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFL</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SteelersNation?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SteelersNation</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThankYou?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ThankYou</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HereWeGo?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HereWeGo</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LoveAndHonor?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LoveAndHonor</a> <a href="https://t.co/pUbKGO1nUs">pic.twitter.com/pUbKGO1nUs</a>

Roethlisberger's resume includes two Super Bowl victories, three AFC titles, five AFC Championship Game appearances and 12 playoff berths. He's a six-time Pro Bowler and won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2004.

The Steelers took the former Miami (Ohio) star with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft. After backing up Tommy Maddox for the team's first two games, Roethlisberger took over and went 13-0 for the 15-1 Steelers.

Pittsburgh's season ended in the AFC Championship Game, which Tom Brady and the New England Patriots won en route to their third Super Bowl victory.

The second time was the charm for Big Ben, as the Steelers won their first Super Bowl in 26 years the following season by defeating the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL.

His second Super Bowl win occurred in the 2008 season. The 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII featured his signature moment when he threw a rope to wideout Santonio Holmes for the game-winning touchdown in the final minute.

Roethlisberger went to the Super Bowl a third time in the 2010 season. However, the Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers.

They haven't gotten back to the big game since despite featuring some incredible offensive talents (like Antonio Brown) and defensive stars (such as T.J. Watt).

Still, the Steelers never had a losing season under Roethlisberger. They went 165-81-1 in his starts.

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For everything you've done for the organization, the city, and for the game. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThankYou7?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ThankYou7</a> <a href="https://t.co/a0AQWFVFUb">pic.twitter.com/a0AQWFVFUb</a>

Pittsburgh Steelers @steelers

A career worthy of a Gold Jacket. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThankYou7?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ThankYou7</a> <a href="https://t.co/ujnDOOJYLO">pic.twitter.com/ujnDOOJYLO</a>

Roethlisberger is en route to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, likely on the first ballot. He completed 64.4 percent of his passes with 418 touchdowns (211 interceptions) and averaged 7.6 yards per attempt.

His production took a significant dip after the 2018 season, when he led the NFL with 5,129 passing yards.

A right elbow injury forced him to miss all but two games in 2019.

When he came back in 2020, Roethlisberger threw for just 6.3 yards per pass attempt, a career low at the time. He had 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for a team that started 11-0, but his legendary arm strength had taken a hit. That appeared to be a natural regression after the longtime veteran was out for nearly a year.

The team scuffled through a mediocre campaign in 2021. Age appeared to be catching up to Roethlisberger as the Steelers struggled to score points.

However, Pittsburgh still qualified for the playoffs as the AFC's No. 7 seed, marking the 12th time a Roethlisberger-led team made the playoffs.

Even at the end of his career, Big Ben's team never torpedoed, and the quarterback offered some production.

Roethlisberger's on-field resume will land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Off the field, his career saw troubling allegations.

Two women said he sexually assaulted them. One woman said the Steelers signal-caller raped her at a Lake Tahoe hotel while the quarterback was in town for a charity golf tournament in 2008. Roethlisberger and the woman settled out of court.

A college student also said Roethlisberger sexually assaulted her at a Milledgeville, Georgia, nightclub in 2010.  Following an investigation, Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Fred Bright did not press charges, saying he could not prove Roethlisberger's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The NFL suspended Roethlisberger for six games for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The sentence was later reduced to four games.

Big Ben played in the NFL for another decade.

On Dec. 4, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Roethlisberger told former teammates as well as some within the organization that he expected the 2021 season to be his last one in the NFL.

That became apparent in the final weeks of the campaign. Roethlisberger told reporters Dec. 30 that his team's Week 17 home game against the Cleveland Browns (a 26-14 win) was likely his last contest at Heinz Field.

After the Steelers' 42-21 AFC Wild Card Game loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Roethlisberger alluded to his retirement:

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Ben Roethlisberger addresses the media: <a href="https://t.co/l3eeMO4MQY">pic.twitter.com/l3eeMO4MQY</a>

That is now officially the case, and the Steelers will hope to find another franchise signal-caller who can lead the team to sustained success.

The answer likely isn't on the roster. Mason Rudolph has struggled with his opportunities, and Dwayne Haskins is a reclamation project after a disastrous run as the Washington Football Team's quarterback.

Pittsburgh will likely have to turn to the draft, free agency or the trade market to find Roethlisberger's successor.

The future may be in question at quarterback, but Roethlisberger leaves the game after an excellent 18-year run that will be followed by a bronze bust in Canton, Ohio.

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