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Ben Roethlisberger says Pittsburgh Steelers GM, Mike Tomlin were ready to move on from him last year

Matt Johnson
Ben Roethlisberger
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is creating headlines once again, now talking about his former club and a move into retirement he believes some in the organization wanted more than he did long ago.

Roethlisberger entered the 2021 NFL offseason with uncertainty regarding his future. He didn’t want to play anywhere except Pittsburgh, but the Steelers required him to take a substantial pay cut to return. Ultimately, he agreed and finished out the season with a distinguished exit and an ovation from the fans.

Related: Kenny Pickett says he spoke to Ben Roethlisberger

While the 40-year-old now seems satisfied in retirement on the verge of NFL training camp beginning, it’s clear the legendary quarterback still thinks about what happened. In an interview with Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethlisberger addressed what went down in 2021.

  • Ben Roethlisberger career stats: 64,088 passing yards, 418-211 TD-INT ratio, 64.4% completion rate, 93.5 QB rating, 165-81-1 record in regular season

A six-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time Super Bowl champion, Roethlisberger is at peace with the decision he made. However, he does believe it came just months after both former general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin supported the idea of the Steelers finding a new quarterback last spring and he didn’t feel much support from some in the organization.

Related: NFL insider suggests Pittsburgh Steeler pushed Ben Roethlisberger into retirement

“It was mostly Kevin [Colbert]. He was ready to move on. I think Mike [Tomlin] was a little ready to move on, but I think he was OK with me coming back. I think Mr. [Art] Rooney really wanted me to come back last year to play.”

Ben Roethlisberger on Pittsburgh Steelers management wanting him gone in 2021

Based on Roethlisberger’s statement, it seems evident Colbert and Tomlin would have preferred the Steelers’ icon retired a year ago. While Pittsburgh still made the playoffs, Roethlisberger’s play faded down the stretch and he seemed to hold the offense back.

Even now, Roethlisberger still believes he could still be a starting quarterback in the NFL this season if it was purely based on the health of his arm. However, the grind required would be too much and he is happy with the decision he made.

“I thought I went out on my terms. I never wanted to stay too long. I know some people might think I did. ‘You stayed last year.’ But I thought I played pretty well last year, to be honest. My arm feels like I still could go out and play. I’m pretty confident I could still play. But it’s every day. It’s mental. Not having to prepare for camp and the season has been the biggest blessing for me. I’m fine with where I’m at with everything.”

Ben Roethlisberger on his decision to retire, whether or not he could still play in NFL

Now, Roethlisberger will watch Steelers’ games at home and he is making himself avaialble to quarterbacks Kenny Pickett and Mitchell Trubisky if they ever need advice. If the Steelers take a step backward in 2022, though, it likely won’t be entirely due to the play of their young passers replacing Roethlisberger.