Ben Roethlisberger spreading word about retiring after 2021 season: report

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback told former teammates and some within the organization “privately” the 2021 season will be the last of his NFL career, ESPN reported Saturday.

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CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 28: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) walks toward the sideline during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals on November 28, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. 

CINCINNATI, OH – NOVEMBER 28: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) walks toward the sideline during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals on November 28, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH.  (Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Over the last few years, Roethlisberger has been bruised and battered. He missed most of the 2019 season with injuries. In 2018, he led the NFL with 5,129 passing yards and had 34 touchdown passes to go with it, but Pittsburgh only finished 9-6-1.

He helped the team to 11 straight wins last season but the team only finished 12-4 and were eliminated in the Wild Card round of the playoffs by their AFC North rival Cleveland Browns.

This season, Pittsburgh is 5-5-1. Roethlisberger played in 10 of those games and has 2,522 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. But the 39-year-old is still a far cry from what he was in his prime, which is why the report of his potential retirement at the end of the 2021 season may not come as a surprise.

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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Cincinnati.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Former Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier said it outright earlier this week that he believes Roethlisberger should retire.

“Sometimes the game will tell you when it’s time,” he said on CBS Sports Radio’s “Tiki and Tierney Show.” “And I love Ben, but I think next year may be time for him to step away from the game. Ben has been known for being one of those types of quarterbacks who is really tough to bring down, extend the plays, allow his team to make big plays because of how much of an athlete he was. He knew how to change the game. And I feel he’s losing a lot of that.

“When you can’t play the way you want to play, it gets tough. And sometimes, the game will allow you to leave on your own terms, or the game will tell you when it’s time to leave. And I think it might be getting to that time for Ben to step away.”

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) looks up toward the scoreboard as he leaves the field after losing to the Cincinnati Bengals in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Cincinnati.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) looks up toward the scoreboard as he leaves the field after losing to the Cincinnati Bengals in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

Roethlisberger is a two-time Super Bowl champion and a six-time Pro Bowler. He won the 2004 Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year and was in the same draft class as Eli Manning and Philip Rivers.

He has 62,870 passing yards and 410 passing touchdowns for his career. He’s sixth on the list in all-time passing yardage and eighth in all-time passing touchdowns.

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