Big Ben: Colbert wanted to move on, but Rooney brought me back in 2021

Posted: 24/07/2022 in NFL
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Ben Roethlisberger said the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ decision to bring him back for a final season last year wasn’t unanimous inside the organization.

The retired quarterback recently revealed that longtime head coach Mike Tomlin and former general manager Kevin Colbert were ready to replace him in 2021, but Steelers owner Art Rooney II had other plans.

“It was mostly Kevin. He was ready to move on. I think Mike was a little ready to move on, but I think he was OK with me coming back,” Roethlisberger told Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I think Mr. Rooney really wanted me to come back last year to play.”

The 40-year-old is happy with how his final year in Pittsburgh played out.

“I thought I went out on my terms,” said Roethlisberger, who completed 64.5% of his passes for 3,740 yards and 22 touchdowns against 10 interceptions in 2021.

“I never wanted to stay too long. I know some people might think I did. ‘You stayed last year.’ But I thought I played pretty well last year, to be honest.”

He added: “My arm feels like I still could go out and play. I’m pretty confident I could still play. But it’s every day. It’s mental. Not having to prepare for camp and the season has been the biggest blessing for me.”

Roethlisberger played for the Steelers from 2004-21 and became the most prolific passer in franchise history, though he visibly lost some of his arm strength in the final years of his career. The six-time Pro Bowler didn’t average more than 6.3 yards per pass attempt in 2020 and 2021 after doing so every year from 2004-18.

In 18 seasons in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger passed for 64,088 yards and 418 touchdowns while posting a 165-81-1 regular-season record under center. He also helped the Steelers make three Super Bowl appearances, winning two titles.

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