Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made official Thursday what everyone expected during the final weeks of the 2021 season.
Roethlisberger walks away with a Hall of Fame resume — three Super Bowl appearances, two Lombardi trophies, a Rookie of the Year award, fifth on the NFL’s all-time passing yards list with 64,088 and a franchise record 418 passing touchdowns.
“The time has come to clean out my locker, hang up my cleats and continue to be all I can be to my wife and children,” Roethlisberger said in a video. “I retire from football a truly grateful man.”
Roethlisberger was drafted 11th overall in the 2004 NFL draft — the same year potential Hall of Famers Eli Manning and Philip Rivers were selected.
As a rookie, Roethlisberger, running back Jerome Bettis, coach Bill Cowher and a ferocious defense led the Steelers to a 15-1 regular-season record. After losing to New England in the AFC title game that season, the Steelers bounced back the next year to win Roethlisberger’s first Super Bowl with a 21-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
His second Super Bowl victory — this one with coach Mike Tomlin — came three seasons later in a 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals, in which Roethlisberger threw one of the most iconic passes in Super Bowl history. With 35 seconds remaining, the gunslinger threw a perfect strike to Santonio Holmes in the back right corner of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.
Roethlisberger went to a third Super Bowl two years later but lost to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers 31-25.
His retirement isn’t a surprise. At 39 years old, many assumed entering this season that it would be his last. Then, in the final weeks of the season, he gave several hints that he would hang up his cleats after the season. The Steelers ended the season with victories in three of their final four games to sneak into the playoffs but lost to Kansas City 42-21 in the wild card round.
He ends his career with a 165-81-1 record in the regular season. The 165 victories are the fifth-most in NFL history and his .670 winning percentage is the sixth-best all-time mark.
• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at email@example.com.
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