Ben Roethlisberger looked like a man who was ready to retire following the Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss to the Cleveland Browns in the AFC Wild Card round on Sunday night. The Super Bowl-winning quarterback sat on the bench for several minutes following the loss, appearing to soak everything in one final time.
At his postgame press conference, though, Big Ben did not sound like a man who was ready to retire.
Roethlisberger told reporters that he hopes to be brought back by the Steelers in 2021. He said he’s not ready to announce an official decision on the 2021 season, but ideally, he’ll return for another year.
“Well it’s gonna start between me and God,” Roethlisberger said about his decision. “A lot of praying. And then, you know, a lot of talking with my family, discussions, decisions. And, you know, I still have a year left on my contract. I hope the Steelers want me back, if that’s the way we go. There’ll be a lot of discussions, but now’s not the time for that.”
Roethlisberger had an up-and-down 2020 season. The Steelers raced out to an 11-0 start, but stumbled down the stretch and fell to the Browns in the opening round of the playoffs.
Pro Football Talk had some details on his contract situation:
His cap number of $41.25 million becomes official on March 17, at a time when the total team spending limit may be as low as $175 million. If they want him back, they need to him sign an extension that kicks the cap can to a future year.
What if he says, “I’m just going to play out my contract”? The Steelers may have to release him in order to reduce his cap charge by $19 million. And then he’d become a free agent, able to sign with a new team if he wants.
So, it sounds like Big Ben and the Steelers have some things to plan out. But, as of now, Roethlisberger appears to be planning on returning for another season.