Despite an 11-0 start to the 2020 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers crashed and burned on their way to a first round playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns. Veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger appeared banged up down the stretch as Mike Tomlin's offense went stagnant and Steelers fans closed the book on the year, feeling disappointed.
Heading into the offseason, Pittsburgh began to wonder if their franchise quarterback would choose to hang up his cleats for good. In fact, a former teammate of Roethlisberger's endorsed sending the 17-year veteran off into the sunset.
“100 percent” former Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor said on 93.7 The Fan earlier this week when asked if Roethlisberger should retire. “It’s the mobility part, and if you’re looking at the AFC North, the three young quarterbacks—they’re young, they’re mobile, and they’ve got playoff experience, and you don’t want to set your organization behind three years."
“What I mean by three years, is you’ve got to wait for [Roethlisberger] to retire, hopefully you keep the same coordinator," Taylor continued. "So the first year’s gonna be okay with the offensive coordinator, whoever the quarterback is. The second year they usually flourish under the offensive coordinator. The third year they should be able to sleep. They know who to pass it to."
Taylor makes a fair point when it comes to the Steelers stiff competition in the AFC North. Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield and Joe Burrow are all under 26 and will take over Pittsburgh's rivals for the next few years. With an aging quarterback under center, the Steelers might not be able to keep up with the high-scoring, youth talent.
Unfortunately for Taylor and any Pittsburgh fan rooting for Roethlisberger's retirement, the veteran quarterback appears prepared to return for an 18th year. According to a meeting between Steelers ownership and the 38-year-old, both parties are committed to working together in 2021.
“Art Rooney II said that Ben Roethlisberger wants to come back and has told the team that,” The Athletic's Mark Kaboly reported earlier this week. “Rooney said that they can’t do it at his current salary and Ben knows that. If they can agree to a contract alteration it sounds like Roethlisberger will be back.”
So Taylor probably won't get his wish. The Steelers will try to squeeze a little bit more out of Roethlisberger before he heads into the Hall of Fame.