Just remember you heard it here first:
Big Ben has played his last game for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
We’ve been working the text machines all day, and we can report that some in the Roethlisberger camp began wondering if the 37 year old would ever return from the moment he discovered he’d require season ending surgery.
That was honestly not that surprising to us… the dumpy fella has been giving hints for a few years now.
Two days after a loss to NE in the AFC Championship Game following the 2016 season, Ben flirted with the idea of retirement. Obviously, he did return, but he echoed the sentiment when he got to camp that July, saying 2017 could be his last season. The following April, the Steelers had their own eye toward the future and used a 3rd rounder on Mason Rudolph- the first potential replacement Ben has had to contend with…and he didn’t exactly take it well.
“I was surprised when they took a quarterback because I thought that maybe in the third round, you know you can get some really good football players that can help this team now“
Whining like Sean Payton after, well, every game now.
Then, Big #7, who keeps passive agressively threatening to walk away, all of a sudden gets territorial, and thinks he’s an iron man when confronted with his own QB mortality:
“If he’s going to be there guy, that’s great, but in my perfect world, that’s not going to be for a while”.
On the field, it did work in a sense. In 2018 he had career highs in yards and touchdowns. But otherwise the Steelers turned into a complete dumpster fire.
Infighting. GM and coach calling out the team, Le’veon Bell sat out, Antonio Brown is a maniac. And it all culminated in the team missing the playoffs. Coming into 2019, there was a lot of uneasiness around the team. Let me ask you: is this really the face of a guy who’s gonna bust his ass to get back to that?
He says yes, though we aren’t sure we believe him.
“The Steelers committed three years to me this offseason and I fully intend to honor my contract and reward them with championship level play. I will do all I can to support Mason and the team this season to help win games. I love this game, my teammates, the Steelers organization and fans, and I feel in my heart I have a lot left to give.”
But let’s say he does mean it…does that mean it’s going to happen?
We are hearing a strong “No”. The Steers stand with an 0-2 record, and a 37 year old sometimes-malcontent QB undergoing season-ending elbow surgery. After carrying his 26.7M cap hit this year, the number balloons to 36.7 next season. Do they want him back at that number? Any attempt at reducing it means adding years because, well, this is NOT the type of guy who’s going to take a pay cut. All indications are any form of extension or additional guaranteed money is a hard no.
So, as we see it, all roads are leading towards Ben being done in The Steel City.
This season will be entirely a referendum on how much Rudolph can progress during the season. As we were putting this piece together, we got wht we see to be clear confirmation of this.
Build a team around the next guy, and start the process moving on from Big Ben.