Ben Roethlisberger didn’t just flirt with retirement. He actually wined and dined the prospect of ending his NFL career earlier this year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback seriously considered retiring this offseason, former Steelers offensive lineman Willie Colon confirmed Tuesday to ProFootballTalk. Colon, who played seven seasons with Roethlisberger, suggested the 35-year-old quarterback has grown weary of the pounding his body has taken during his career.
“I got to sit down and talk to him and one thing he told me is he did take it seriously,”Colon said. “He’s dealt with a lot of injuries.”
How well the Steelers protect Roethlisberger might determine how much longer he plays. He missed two games in 2016 due to injury but still posted a 95.4 passer rating and threw for 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
“He’s passionate about playing, but one thing that keeps his fire going is that offensive line,” Colon said. “You have to worry about the health of Ben Roethlisberger. Can you keep him upright, can he stay healthy for the duration? They have the offensive line, they have the pieces around him to make it work.”
Roethlisberger ended two-and-a-half months of speculation over his future on April 7 when he announced he’ll return to the Steelers for the 2017 season, his 14th in the NFL. His announcement marked his first public comment on his future since he told 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh on Jan. 24 he was open to retiring.
Colon’s revelation shows Roethlisberger’s retirement talk wasn’t merely borne out of frustration over losing to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. The end might be near for one of the best quarterbacks of his generation and a surefire Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee.
Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images