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Ben Roethlisberger has privately told former teammates and some in the organization that he expects this to be his last season, playing quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, league sources told ESPN.
Roethlisberger has not made any such public announcements, and probably will not, as he does not want the final part of the season to be about him as Pittsburgh prepares to make a playoff push.
But he and those in the organization now function as if he is entering the final five games of his Hall-of-Fame career, with two of them aptly coming up against the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh’s opponent on Sunday and in the final game of the regular season. season. as well.
Roethlisberger is in the midst of his 18th season and final year of his contract, he is 39 years old and turns 40 by March, and has seen all of his quarterback draft classmates like Eli Manning and Philip Rivers move on to the next chapters of their life. He is expected to be the next.
Roethlisberger has told many that he would never want to play anywhere other than Pittsburgh, where his time is running out. That does not mean he could not show up next season in another NFL city, but that is “highly unlikely,” according to a source.
And that would mean that this is expected to cover the career of one of the Steelers’ greatest players of all time. Roethlisberger will leave the franchise with more wins, touchdown passes and passing yards than any quarterback in Steelers history.
His 410 touchdown passes in his career coming into Sunday’s game are the eighth most in NFL history. His 62,870 passing yards are sixth in NFL history. His 161 career wins are number five in NFL history.
That this is expected to be the final NFL season for the six-time Pro-Bowler does not come as a surprise to many around the organization. They thought last season could have been Roethlisberger’s last, and in a way the team even seemed to be preparing for it, turning a large part of their list over on the offensive side of football this season and have already surpassed to the future there.
The Steelers, on average, have the youngest offensive roster in the league, with rookies manning the center and left tackle positions, and on the running back and tight end. Pittsburgh have started to advance in the other offensive positions, just not quarterback.
Although the Steelers have quarterbacks Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins on their roster, there are questions as to whether any of them will be the ones to succeed Roethlisberger.
At 5-5-1, the Steelers will need one last push after the season to give Roethlisberger another chance to try to add to the two Super Bowl titles he has already helped bring to Pittsburgh.