Steelers' Mike Tomlin on Ben Roethlisberger: 'It's Been an Honor and a Pleasure'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 17, 2022

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 26: Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talks with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) on the sidelines during an NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs on Dec 26, 2021 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While Ben Roethlisberger hasn't officially announced his retirement, his head coach made it seem like Sunday was the quarterback's final game.

"He was seven," Mike Tomlin told reporters when asked what the quarterback provided during the 42-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. "It's been an honor and a pleasure. I don't have the words."

Pittsburgh was thoroughly outplayed in the Wild Card Round loss and managed just two first downs to seven punts in the first half. It also fell behind 35-7 by the middle of the third quarter, with their only score coming on a fumble recovery by T.J. Watt.

It was clear the 39-year-old Roethlisberger couldn't keep up with Patrick Mahomes on the other side.

Yet the Steelers at least finished with some momentum.

The future Hall of Famer threw late touchdown passes to Diontae Johnson and James Washington to make the final score more respectable and go out on something of a high note if he does retire.

The Steelers selected Roethlisberger with a first-round pick in 2004, and Tomlin has been his head coach since the start of the 2007 campaign. The pair won a Lombardi Trophy in just their second season together and advanced to another Super Bowl two years later.

Big Ben has been the face of the franchise in Pittsburgh since the coach arrived, so next season will certainly be an adjustment for Tomlin if he does ultimately retire.

Whether the Steelers find their next quarterback in the draft or via free agency or a trade, Tomlin will always be associated with Roethlisberger after they combined for so much success in Pittsburgh. He was feeling appreciative after Sunday's loss.