To the sports fan, the thought of leaving more than $20 million on the table and retiring instead is absolutely ludicrous. But when you’ve already earned well over $100-million, money doesn’t matter quite as much anymore.
On top of the money, there’s the thought of a team already built to contend coaxing their veteran quarterback to give it another shot to possibly win another title.
That’s the scenario facing Ben Roethlisberger as he navigates his way throughout the 2017 regular season. Though far from his usual form, Roethlisberger has improved over the past few weeks. But he’s very non-committal whenever he’s asked about his future after the 2017 season.
Responses usually range from:
“I’m 100-percent committed to this season.”
“That’s something I’ll have to talk with my family about after the season.”
Neither the thought of more money nor leading a team absolutely brimming with talent on another championship quest seem to play a significant role in the decision. Like I said, for the common fan it almost seems outrageous for a player to walk away from this situation, but Roethlisberger isn’t budging or tipping his hand on his future with the Black-and-gold.
Time to check on the news surrounding the Steelers outside the walls of BTSC:
After the loss, the Steelers, wet with sweat and rain, stream into the tunnel of Heinz Field. Their faces register disgust, distress or disillusionment -- or all three -- as they file into the locker room following a 30-9 dismantling by Jacksonville in front of their hometown crowd. Le'Veon Bell locks his eyes on the floor, Martavis Bryant shakes his head, David DeCastro winces. Only one player enters with his helmet still on. You can't see his eyes. You can't read him at all.
Ben Roethlisberger prefers to stay hidden.
Sometimes he hides behind facemasks--other times behind doors. But most often, behind his words.
In the minutes following what was, perhaps, the team’s worst outing during his 14 years in the league, he emerges from the shower and takes a seat in front of his locker. There's a purple bruise on his thigh. Another at the top of his back, below the spot where he had a Chinese symbol tattooed near his shoulder. Scratches, bright pink and fresh, bloom lower above his towel -- new tokens of another NFL Sunday in a lifetime full of them.
He slips on a pair of dark jeans, straps an Apple Watch to his wrist, drops his keys into his pocket, and turns around to face the onslaught. Roethlisberger will try to make sense of his five interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. He'll try to offer answers for why he threw 55 times, but never once for six points. He'll try to explain how he became the first quarterback ever to manage that exact combination of futility in a single game.
"Somebody, please," he implores a mob of reporters that has tightened its ring around him, but hasn’t yet posed a question. At his prodding, though, the interrogation comes. And a moment later, the reckoning.
"Maybe I don't have it anymore," he says.
Roethlisberger is kidding, of course. What, him worry?
No, wait, he's serious. Here, in front of his locker, he's owning his mortality, a concession to time, that inevitable thief, and the way it eventually robs even elite quarterbacks of their capabilities. It was exactly the way he owned it in January, when he publicly pondered retirement, and precisely as he owned it in July when he grappled with how chronic traumatic encephalopathy ravages a football player's brain and, in the end, his body.
No, actually, he's glib. He's just frustrated, forced to forensically dissect the myriad ways he failed on this Sunday afternoon—his flippancy morphing into self-flagellation. Because 30 seconds later, to the same mob of reporters and the same tightening ring, he rejects any notion of creeping self-doubt whatsoever. "If anybody in this room ever has that doubt, they probably aren't here," he says. "You know what I'm saying?"
And isn't that the rub of this 14-year journey? We don't know. The quarterback who has juked and shimmied and scrambled his way to a Hall of Fame-worthy NFL career is not just hard to catch on the field.
We’re never quite sure what it is Ben Roethlisberger is actually, truly saying.
(Check out the rest of this article in the link above...well worth the read.)
Which team is primed to go on a second-half tear?
The Steelers. They're already hitting their stride, having won three consecutive games after a 3-2 start. I've always thought their offense would be lethal so long as Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown stay healthy. They have so far, and now rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster has joined the mix. The Steelers have averaged the fourth-most yards per game (400.6), and their defense limited opponents to the fourth-fewest points per game (16.2) during that streak. This balanced team is primed for a second-half run.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are sitting atop the AFC at the mid-way point in the season with a 6-2 record. And they are in the running as the most creative team with their touchdown celebrations.
Running back Le'Veon Bell and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster have been the centerpiece of several memorable celebrations. And Antonio Brown has contributed his own moves.
Touchdown celebrations in the NFL have gone from a simple spike to elaborate skits featuring several players. The explosion of these performances comes as the NFL changed its long-standing rule and decided to allow such displays.
Here’s a list of clips of some of the best touchdown performances this year, starting with the Steelers.
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell mimicked bench pressing ala James Harrison (check his Instagram feed ) during the game versus the Detroit Lions on Sunday night. Fellow wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster acted as the bench as Antonio Brown, David DeCastro and Alejandro Villanueva served as spotters as Bell cranked out several reps.
After a record-long, 97-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter in that game against the Lions, Smith-Schuster ran to the sidelines to celebrate by chaining up a stationary bike. The bike saga was in the news all week preceding the game.