Ben Roethlisberger Feels He Was Forced Out By Steelers General Manager

by Nick Geddes

Ben Roethlisberger’s 17-year NFL and Pittsburgh Steelers career came to an end this past season.

In some respects, however, it could have ended sooner. At least that’s the way Roethlisberger sees it. Roethlisberger recently told Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that newly-retired Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert wanted him out a year ago. Head coach Mike Tomlin, Roethlisberger says, was ready to move on as well.

As it would turn out, team owner Art Rooney Jr. wanted one final ride with Roethlisberger in the “Steel City.” And so, Ben Roethlisberger played out his final season with Pittsburgh in 2021.

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

Ben Roethlisberger’s Final Season in Pittsburgh Was Widely Scrutinized

Ben Roethlisberger, 40, didn’t have a storybook season on the surface. The Steelers were not holding up the Lombardi Trophy at SoFi Stadium in February. Pittsburgh’s season ended with a Wild Card round defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs. Roethlisberger’s play was highly scrutinized.

He would finish his final campaign throwing for 3,740 yards, 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His QBR of 35.6 was the second-lowest of his career.

But what most will remember, however, is one Monday night at Heinz Field against the Cleveland Browns. Week 17 and Ben Roethlisberger’s final home game in Pittsburgh. A victory for the Steelers and a farewell to perhaps the franchise’s greatest quarterback.

“I thought I went out on my terms,” Roethlisberger said. “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.”