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NFL rumors: Did Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger just hint at retirement?

NFL rumors: Could Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger retire?
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws in the first quarter during an NFL Week 15 football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Pittsburgh Steelers At Cincinnati Bengals Dec 21

With NFL rumors suggesting that another future Hall of Fame quarterback could soon retire, Pittsburgh Steelers signal caller Ben Roethlisberger is slated to make his 22nd career playoff start Sunday evening against the Cleveland Browns.

While there’s been no real talk of the 38-year-old Roethlisberger calling it quits, suggestions are that the Steelers are looking for an heir-apparent. Big Ben played into those rumors and some more during a Q&A with the media on Wednesday.

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NFL rumors: Did Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger just hit at retirement?

NFL rumors: Did Ben Roethlisberger suggest he's retiring?
Dec 27, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass against the Indianapolis Colts during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

“I think every player should approach this playoff game like it could be their last playoff game ever,” Ben Roethlisberger said.

As durable as they come, Roethlisberger didn’t miss more than five games to injury in a single season during the first 15 years of his career. That changed back in 2019 after the Super Bowl-winning signal caller missed 14 games after suffering an elbow injury.

NFL rumors also suggest that Pittsburgh is concerned about the nagging knee injury that has hampered Ben Roethlisberger thus far this season. There’s even talk that backup Josh Dobbs could play some Sunday against Cleveland.

Despite the above-mentioned injuries, Ben Roethlisberger is coming off a regular season that saw him throw for 3,803 yards with 33 touchdowns against just 10 interceptions. Needless to say, the veteran can still play at a high level. If he chooses to play several more years, I am sure the Steelers wouldn’t complain.

As for NFL rumors suggesting that Ben Roethlisberger could retire, there has not been much talk about it. This comes at the same time that New Orleans Saints quarterback, also one of the longest-tenured players at this position in the NFL, could retire following the playoffs.

Even if Ben Roethlisberger were to remain with the Steelers beyond the 2020 season, they need to plan for an eventual heir-apparent. Neither Dobbs nor Mason Rudolph seem to be the answer moving forward. That was proven when Big Ben was sidelined back in 2019.

NFL rumors: Options to replace Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger

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Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) reacts prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

That heir-apparent could potentially come via the 2021 NFL Draft. However, the Steelers are currently slated to pick in the bottom 10. That could handcuff them to an extent.

Barring a dramatic trade up, Pittsburgh won’t be able to land any of the top-four quarterbacks in that of Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields or Trey Lance. Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones, Desmond Ridder of Cincinnati and Kyle Task of Florida could be options.

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Perhaps, taking a chance on a disgruntled Carson Wentz could make some sense should Roethlisberger in fact retire following the season. The likes of Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Jimmy Garoppolo could also be on the trade block once NFL free agency opens up in March.

As it relates to Carson Wentz, the former Philadelphia Eagles second-round pick is the type of prototypical quarterback that has defined Big Ben throughout his career. He also just recently requested a trade after being benched by Eagles head coach Doug Pederson late in the 2020 season.

Either way expect NFL rumors to pick up as it relates to the Steelers’ quarterback situation should Ben Roethlisberger shock the football world and retire following the playoffs.