Pittsburgh Steelers owner admits Ben Roethlisberger could return in 2022

Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers have had themselves a tremendous 17-year marriage after the organization selected him in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. That has included two Super Bowl titles.

But with everything, it has to come to an end at some point. Earlier this year there were suggestions that Big Ben might not return for the 2021 NFL season. While the two sides worked things out, most believe that this coming year will be Roethlisberger’s final in Steel Town.

Apparently, that is far from etched in stone.

“It’s not written in stone that this is his last year,” Steeler owner Art Rooney II said, per Brooke Pryor of ESPN. “We’re aware this could be Ben’s last year,” he continued. “We hope it’s a great one. That’s as far as we can go with it right now. Obviously, if this is his last year, then next year we’ll be making decisions on a QB.”

Roethlisberger, 39, completed 65.6% of his passes for 3,803 yards with 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while leading the Steelers to a 12-3 record in 15 starts a season ago. Statistically, it was his best performance since back in 2014.

With that said, there were obvious concerns over regression when it came to Big Ben’s arm strength. A lot of those yards were accumulated after the catch.

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Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback situation

pittsburgh steelers, ben roethlisberger
Jul 22, 2021; Pittsburgh, PA, United States; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) participates in training camp at the Rooney UPMC Sports Performance Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

When two entities have been joined at the hip for so long, it’s hard to move off one another. But that time surely is coming for Big Ben and his Steelers.

At issue here has been Pittsburgh’s unwillingness to exhaust a first-round pick on a potential heir-apparent to Ben Roethlisberger.

Right now, Mason Rudolph is seen as a the likely in-house successor. Meanwhile, former Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins has shown out in his first training camp in Pittsburgh.

“He’s (Haskins) grown by leaps and bounds,” head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters ahead of Pittsburgh’s preseason opener. “He does a good job of communicating with coaches, with players, gaining an understanding of what we’re trying to do schematically and his role in it, gaining a rapport with the receivers specifically, trying to do the things that we want him to do in the drill work that we do. We’ve made an emphasis that drill work is football-like, but not necessarily football, and so we have certain things that we emphasize under those circumstances. I think he’s done a nice job of that. I think a lot of guys have.”

It will be interesting to see how Haskins and the rest of Pittsburgh’s backup quarterbacks play during Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game against the Dallas Cowboys in Canton. Ben Roethlisberger is unlikely to see much action. That’s assuming he even suits up.

As for a potential continuation of this marriage beyond the 2021 season, Big Ben is slated to become a free agent next March.