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Two-time Super Bowl champion and NFL great Ben Roethlisberger retires after 18 seasons

The 39-year-old quarterback spent his entire career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ben Roethlisberger throwing a pass for the Steelers.
Ben Roethlisberger throwing a pass for the Steelers.
Image: Ed Zurga

BEN ROETHLISBERGER, A two-time Super Bowl champion and one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks, announced his retirement on Thursday after an 18-year career spent entirely with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The 39-year-old passer, who entered the league as the 11th pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, epitomized the working-man feel of America’s Steeltown by delivering season after season, reaching the playoffs 12 times and winning Super Bowls in 2006 and 2009.

“I don’t know how to put into words what the game of football has meant to me and what a blessing it has been,” Roethlisberger said in a Twitter post.

“While I know with confidence I’ve given my all to the game, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for all it has given me.”

From the small Midwestern town of Findlay, Ohio, and the unlikely program at Miami of Ohio, Roethlisberger earned his NFL opportunity. He started third on the depth chart but was on the field by the second game in his rookie season, then went 13-0 as a regular-season starter and the legend of “Big Ben” was born.

Now the clock has struck midnight and the fairy tale is over.

“The journey has been exhilarating, defined by relationships and fueled by a spirit of competition,” Roethlisberger said.

“Yet, 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. I retire from football a truly grateful man.”

The expected announcement came 11 days after the Steelers lost 42-21 at Kansas City in the NFL playoffs after Roethlisberger had hinted he might be calling it quits in the final days of a 9-7-1 season.

Roethlisberger set an NFL record by never enduring a losing season in his 18 NFL campaigns.

He finished with 5,440 completions on 8,443 passes for 64,088 yards — all ranking fifth on the NFL’s all-time list — and was eighth overall with 418 touchdown tosses. He also ran 515 times for 1,373 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Roethlisberger guided the Steelers into the playoffs as a rookie and in the 2005 season led Pittsburgh to the NFL crown, becoming the youngest Super Bowl-winning quarterback a month shy of his 24th birthday.

Three seasons later, “Big Ben” threw the game-winning 6-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds remaining to give the Steelers a Super Bowl triumph over Arizona.

Roethlsiberger also led the Steelers to the 2011 Super Bowl, where they lost to the Green Bay Packers.

With 165 triumphs, Roethlisberger ranks second behind Tom Brady with New England for the most victories by an NFL quarterback with a single team.

Roethlisberger, a six-time Pro Bowl player, led the NFL in passing yardage in 2014 and 2018, when he delivered a career-high 5,129 passing yards.

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His toughness on the field included taking an NFL record 554 sacks.

There was controversy. Roethlisberger wasn’t wearing a helmet when he was involved in a serious 2006 motorcycle accident and he settled a 2009 civil suit for sexual assault, a case not pursued by a district attorney after an investigation into the matter. Roethlisberger returned in 2010 after a four-game suspension for a personal conduct violation to spark a Super Bowl run.

“To all my teammates and the endless friendships that I have gained, I appreciate you and our shared commitment to wearing the black and gold with pride and dignity,” said Roethlisberger. “Putting that jersey on every Sunday with my brothers will always be one of the greatest joys of my life.”

– © AFP 2022

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