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Ben Roethlisberger's reputation for being big, tough and elusive will be his greatest legacy

Ben Roethlisberger's reputation for being big, tough and elusive will be his greatest legacy regardless of how many Super Bowls he wins. But he might still be elusive enough to win one or two more.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

I was talking to my mom over the weekend and, for whatever reason, the conversation steered towards the Steelers and, ultimately, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

My mother, who’s a few months shy of her 68th birthday and has never been known for her football expertise (I know you’re going to say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree), said what she always says when Big Ben’s name is mentioned: “It’s amazing how tough it is for the defenders to get him on the ground.”

She’s always been fascinated with Roethlisberger’s toughness, and when it comes to that, she’s no different than most fans of No. 7.

My mom is also quite aware of Roethlisberger’s height.

At 6’5” tall, she wondered out loud if Big Ben was, indeed, the tallest quarterback in the NFL. After doing some research, courtesy of, I see that Roethlisberger trails only the 6’8” Brock Osweiler and the 6’6” Joe Flacco in height.

So, basically, Roethlisberger is the tallest quarterback in the NFL (see what I did there)?

Another thing my mom can't help but notice about Roethlisberger is that, as she puts it, “He always waits until the last second to do something.”

If you’re familiar with Roethlisberger’s style, you obviously know Mom is referring to his street-ball tendencies, improvisational skills (how many times has he flipped a “pass” to a running back right before being taken to the ground?) and his elusiveness--the willingness to run around in the pocket, escape the pocket to roll to one side of the field, run all the way back to the other side of the field, all the while looking to make a play downfield.

The way my mother, again — not a football expert in the slightest — talks about Roethlisberger, it truly captures his essence.

And when it comes right down to it, that essence is what we’ll remember when the big guy finally does hang up his cleats for good.

The beauty of talking football in the offseason is it really does give you time to reflect. It’s easy to get caught up in discussing things like Home Ben vs. Road Ben, his often cryptic and head-scratching quotes to the media or whether or not he’s accomplished everything he could have, both in a personal and team sense, since he came to town 14 years ago.

But in June, when training camp is still over a month away, and all you have are memories and YouTube highlights, you truly get to appreciate what makes Roethlisberger special.

Obviously, as fans, we don’t want the Roethlisberger story to come to an end before another Super Bowl or two has been won.

Can that happen?

Just apply Roethlisberger’s physical attributes to his personal life in recent years.

If you’ve followed his career since winning his last Super Bowl, Roethlisberger has displayed great mental and emotional toughness. Through extreme adversity brought on by his own demons, he was forced to grow up, become a family man and, as it pertains to the Steelers, transform into the kind of team leader befitting his franchise-quarterback status.

Following the departure of offensive coordinator and friend Bruce Arians six years ago, Roethlisberger was forced to “tweak” his style, something that couldn’t have been easy for a man of his accomplishments to do during the very prime of his career. But the 6’5” Roethlisberger “stood tall,” so to speak, and rose to the occasion. Working with Todd Haley, an offensive coordinator that probably was never on his Christmas card list, Roethlisberger went on to have some of his best years statistically.

As for his elusiveness, improvisation and street-ball skills, Roethlisberger may have done his best work during the past two offseasons, racing from one side of the field (by hinting at retirement in 2017), all the way over to the other side (saying he’d love to play three-to-five more seasons).

It remains to be seen how Roethlisberger’s final years as the Steelers’ quarterback will play out. But regardless of what happens, his legacy has already been established in the eyes of many....or has it?

Maybe there’s another Super Bowl or two in Roethlisberger’s future.

After all, like Mom told me, “He likes to wait until the last second before doing something.”