The Steeler Nation today sits in waiting on a word from Ben Roethlisberger. The minutes feel like hours, the hours feel like days and the days feel like years. But today, Pittsburgh sits in waiting. After the playoffs, Roethlisberger made a statement that had Steeler Fans, Football Fans and Sports Fans, in general, back on their heels. At a press conference, after taking a loss with the team, that ultimately cost them a spot in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots, he said “IF there is a next season…” – Wait a second… did the man actually say “IF?” This statement sent the social media world into a frenzy and the conversations ensued about what a 2017 Steeler Season “might look like” if, in fact, he doesn’t return. No doubt, he would be difficult to replace.
My buddy Alan Barnes, a local business owner even said that Football Fans, and moreover Steeler Fans across the country, have grown accustomed to “Big Ben” always just being there. He has become a very important facet of the game and a powerful force the Steelers to put up against any opponent. He has taken the team to new heights after being drafted to the Steelers in 2004, as a rookie quarterback. Wanna chat with Alan about his statement? You can find his contact info on their website. By the way, the Miami College (Ohio) student who was a First Round pick, has made good for the team throughout his stellar career and has done his part to give something that Steeler Fans can feel good about letting their ‘terrible towel’ fly for. He has made three Super Bowl appearances with the team, bringing home two Super Bowl wins to Pittsburgh, both in Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII. He’s made several Pro-Bowl performances and has been noted as being one of the best passers of the game. That is quite the accomplishment.
But, his outstanding career track today sits in the shadows as we wait for a word from him or his reps. He says he is taking some much-needed time off to rest, re-group and decide how he wants to move forward. In a recent statement, he said “I want to re-evaluate things. I want to be sure that I am in a good place when I retire and walk away healthy, and not get ‘carted’ off.” He has stated that he is not making any decisions about the 2017 season but is also not committing to playing, as of late. The coaches and staff have been questioned many times about this, since the news broke, and all anyone can say is “If he shows up for work next season, well, then there is your answer. We know as much as you do.” Close sources say it is unlikely that he will retire and return as a player for another team, but if he did, he will mostly likely take the high road and retire the way that Hines Ward did – forever a Steeler. Undoubtedly, if he chooses not to suit up this year, his presence on the field will be missed by many – his teammates, the staff and his fans. But as we all know, the show must (AND WILL) go on.