Many thought that future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger would retire following the 2020 NFL season, but he ultimately accepted a pay cut to offer the franchise needed salary-cap relief during the following offseason to remain on the roster. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Roethlisberger took a $5 million reduction to stay the club’s QB1 for one more year.
That decision produced largely mixed results. Roethlisberger was visibly banged up throughout the fall and also appeared “washed” in the eyes of some, and ESPN stats note that he finished his final campaign 24th among eligible signal-callers with an 86.8 passer rating and 25th with a 35.6 total QBR.
For a recent piece, insider Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was asked (h/t Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio): “Is there bad blood between the Steelers and Big Ben with how his career ended? Was he ready to retire or was it a Troy [Polamalu] type situation where he was forced into it?”
Dulac responded that he “would say it’s very, very safe to assume that.”
It’s unclear what this could mean regarding Roethlisberger’s future relationship with what was his only NFL home. Unlike fellow older veteran quarterbacks such as the ageless Tom Brady and Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers, Roethlisberger mostly performed like a shell of his former self through the playoff loss at the Kansas City Chiefs, and he likely wouldn’t be atop any depth chart had he not retired in January.
There’s no reason Big Ben and the Steelers shouldn’t be on speaking terms by September.