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Ben Roethlisberger praised by star teammate before what could be final game in Pittsburgh

There’s a good chance that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is set to play his final home game as a member of the organization Monday evening.

Big Ben and his Steelers are set to host the division-rival Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field to close up the Super Bowl quarterback’s 18th season in Pittsburgh. Rumors have been circulating that he’ll retire at the end of the 2021 season with one more road game coming Week 18 against the Baltimore Ravens.

Sidelined since Week 5 due to a shoulder injury, star Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster took time out of his day to praise Ben Roethlisberger mere hours before his home finale.

“If tonight is the last ride at home, I have to say thank you to one of the best QBs in NFL History for welcoming me into this league, helping me grow, and being there for me in every step of my career,” Smith-Schuster wrote on Twitter. “It’s been an honor to catch passes and take the field with you. Thank you, 7!”

Still only 25, Smith-Schuster joined the Steelers as a second-round pick back in 2017. Almost immediately, he found a great relationship with Big Ben. That included leading the NFL in receptions (111) and receiving yards (1,426) as a sophomore in 2018. Obviously, Roethlisberger has played a role in the USC product’s success.

Related: Pittsburgh Steelers QB options to replace Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger closing up shop on career in Pittsburgh?

pittsburgh steelers ben roethlisberger
Nov 1, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws to Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) during the the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a pretty big backdrop to what could be Big Ben’s final home game at Heinz Field. His Steelers find themselves at 7-7-1 on the season and with an opportunity to earn a playoff spot. A win over an eliminated Browns team Monday night and the Ravens next week coupled with the Indianapolis Colts losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars would do the trick.

While that seems highly unlikely, it’s pretty cool that Roethlisberger’s potential final start at home has some meaning.

In addition to having led Pittsburgh to two Super Bowl titles, Big Ben has been one of the best statistical quarterbacks in NFL history. He ranks fifth all-time in passing yards and eighth in passing touchdowns. It will lead to an induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame immediately when the former first-round pick from Miami (O) becomes eligible.