Big Ben's Future In Pittsburgh

The NFL is a brutal business.

Jim Rome
February 18, 2021 - 12:50 pm
Ben Roethlisberger

USA Today

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You would think that in this offseason that could have big name quarterbacks moving from one team to another that Ben Roethlisberger would be safe. I mean, come on. He’s been there forever. I’m pretty sure he was Terry Bradshaw’s backup.

Don’t quote me on this, but I definitely remember him throwing passes to John Stallworth and handing it off to Franco Harris. He’s been there so long that it would be pretty hard to imagine the Pittsburgh Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger, right? Wrong.

Because from the sounds of it, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has had those thoughts. And from the sounds of it, he hasn’t exactly hated those thoughts.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Colbert said "As we sit here today, Ben is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers."

Uh-oh. Talk about damning with faint praise. Talk about not exactly giving a commitment.

As we sit here today, Ben is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I feel like I heard something like that about Jared Goff and the Rams just before he was shipped off to Detroit.

As we sit here today, Ben is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tomorrow? Ehhhh, let’s not get into that just yet.

As we sit here today, Ben is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. As we sit here today, the sun rose and the sky is blue.

That is the most damning update you will ever here a GM make about a player, especially a Hall of Fame player who has done for that team what Roethlisberger has done for that team. It is wild to hear it spelled out like that.

As we sit here today, Ben is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. As we sit here today, Ben is a member of the human race. He plays the sport of football in the city of Pittsburgh. Or at least he has in the past.  

As we sit here today, Ben has two arms and two legs. AND A BIG FAT HEAD.

But it’s very clear that Colbert isn’t committing to ANY more than that. He’ll say what has happened in the past, he’ll say what is happening in exactly this moment, but he’s not telling you anything about next season, next month, next week, or even the next hour.

The thing is, Roethlisberger is going to be 39 years old. His contract is going to call for a $41.2 million cap hit this coming season.

So that is why Colbert is talking about the immediate present and making no guarantees about the future when it comes to Roethlisberger.

And that first statement wasn’t the only one of its nature. He also dropped this one:

"Ben Roethlisberger is on the team.”

Another amazing line. . "Ben Roethlisberger is on the team” Ben Roethlsiberger is a football player didn’t want any of that.

Talk about saying the least you can, while also saying an absolute ton.

And he had more.

"Ben Roethlisberger did a lot of really good things last year. We anticipate that he could still do some good things going forward.”

Again, what I’m not hearing is, Ben is our guy. He’s earned the right to play here as long as he wants to.

You know what I’m hearing more than that? I’m practically hearing Kevin Colbert say “take a paycut or take a hike.” I’m practically hearing “Ben Roethlisberger is on the team. Today. And he’ll be on the Bears tomorrow.”

Seriously. After hearing the same thing said about Jared Goff and then seeing him sent to Detroit in a matter of days, if I'm Ben Roethlisberger, I'm starting to price out the rental market in Chicago, Indianapolis, and just about any other city that might need a quarterback.

It is a brutal business in that regard. This is Ben Roethlisberger we’re talking about. He’s been with the Steelers since 2004. That’s about a billion years in football. He’s won two Super Bowls. You would think that would guarantee that he can go out on his own terms, but even he can’t.

That’s why I’m always saying that every player should get as much money as they can when they can, because it doesn’t matter how good you are, the end will come for you at some point. And when it does, it can be really ugly. No matter how many Super Bowls you’ve won and how many hits you’ve taken.

Even Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t get to decide when it ends with the Pittsburgh Steelers, they do. And Kevin Colbert wants to make sure Ben knows that.  Because the next thing Colbert says is, here’s the deal Ben, we’ll keep you, but you play for free. And if you continue to dink and dunk and average two years per completion, your ass will be in the streets. How’s that sound big dawg.  I’ll tell you how it sounds to me: it sounds like ti doesn’t end well.