Tuesday, Ben Roethlisberger shook the football world, and the global Pittsburgh Steelers fan base, when he refused to answer a simple question about his return next season while on his weekly radio show on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh.
Roethlisberger stated he needed to take time away from the game to evaluate his priorities, and whether or not he wanted to continue his career.
Mike Tomlin said it wasn’t the first time Roethlisberger has mentioned retirement in his time as the Steelers’ head coach, but most would agree they would be stunned if No. 7 hangs up his cleats at the end of this season.
Nonetheless, while almost everyone with a microphone is talking about whether they think the Steelers will need to be searching for a new quarterback soon, few of those voices have inside knowledge of the Steelers, but more importantly, Ben Roethlisberger.
One of those people would be former running back, and Hall of Famer, Jerome Bettis.
Bettis joined Rich Eisen for his podcast recently, and chimed in on Roethlisberger’s retirement talk.
“You know what, when you look at his career, it’s been injury plagued. He’s been beaten up year after year, and physically it starts to take a toll on you. That’s the reality of it. So, he has to think about his mortality as a football player. From a physical standpoint, from an emotional standpoint, can I get ready for next season? And the answer right now is, “I don’t know.” So, I don’t think it is a situation where he is saying, “Yes, I’m ready to go.” But he’s gotta look at all these factors and talk to his family and go through that.”
“It was similar to what I had to do, and once he goes through that process he will be back for another year.”
“I think this is a situation where he is really thinking about is this the end of his career? And if it’s not now, it’s going to be in the near future. So, I think the team needs to look at it realistically.”
Bettis continued, “You have to start thinking about the replacement of Ben Roethlisberger. Whether it is this year, or next year or the year after, it’s gonna be in the near future.”
If there is someone’s opinion you can trust on this matter, it would be Bettis. The two players, and former teammates, have always had a very strong bond, and openly state they keep in contact with each other throughout the year and during the season.
Ben Roethlisberger will likely be back, but the question now is — for how long?
You can watch Bettis’ segment on the Rich Eisen show below: