Ben Roethlisberger isn’t going to play many more seasons in the NFL. Heck, he already threatened to retire after the 2016 season. For this reason, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin says he and his staff are absolutely preparing for life without Big Ben.
“I think we’ve been in that mindset for the last several years, that’s what this business tells us to be in,” Tomlin said when asked if he’s been thinking about life after Roethlisberger, per NFL.com’s Jeremy Bergman. “We better start sharpening our sword in terms of evaluation of quarterbacks and what’s available to us or potentially available to us, that’s just due diligence. So yes, we have. I think because of (Roethlisberger’s) durability and how he plays, I don’t know that we have that level of urgency, but we are talking ourselves mentally through the process. Not an easy one, obviously, but it is what it is. It’s an element of the business. Guys can’t play forever and he acknowledges that and we acknowledge that.”
It’s interesting that Tomlin says the Steelers have “been in that mindset for the last several years.” You wouldn’t know it, based on the lack of talent the team has brought in at this critical position. At this time, Zach Mettenberger and Landry Jones — a couple guys with a combined 2-12 record for their careers — are the team’s fallback options heading into 2017.
Roethilsberger has managed to avoid missing significant time throughout his career, but he has also been injured an awful lot. Displaying unbelievable pain tolerance at times, he’s played through some gnarly lower-body injuries, including a foot injury this past year that significantly altered his ability to perform at a high level down the stretch.
Pittsburgh currently owns the No. 30 overall pick after making it to the AFC Championship Game this past year. Perhaps one of the top quarterbacks from this year’s class will still be there at that point. And if that’s the case, then certainly the Steelers should seriously consider drafting one.