Ben Roethlisberger is back for his 18th season with the Steelers. It’s fair to wonder if this is his last, but Big Ben says he’s taking things one step at a time, like always.
“I’m going to approach this like I do every season: like it’s my last,” Roethlisberger said (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Aditi Kinkhabwala). “I think that’s the approach you have to take, and you don’t approach it that way because it could be your last, but you approach it because every single play in the game of football could be your last…That just means I’m going out to give it everything I have. I’ve never looked toward the future. I’ve always looked toward the right here and now. That’s what’s important for me for this season is giving everything I have right here and right now for this group of guys.”
After being limited to just two games in 2019, Roethlisberger struggled throughout 2020. After the season, he agreed to slash his salary by $5MM. Many believed that the Steelers would have gone in another direction otherwise. But, according to Big Ben, he volunteered to do it.
“(The pay cut) was my idea,” he said. “I told them I wanted to help the team out however we can, and so I went to them and told them I would do whatever I could to help the team sign the guys that are going to help us win football games….I wanted to come back to be a part of what I think is a special football team that everyone’s overlooking. In order to do that, to help get guys here, I felt that it was necessary to do that.”
Whether it was the Steelers’ idea or Big Ben’s idea, the speculation can be put in the rear view mirror. Roethlisberger is set to lead the way once again in 2020 and, thanks to JuJu Smith-Schuster‘s own home team discount, he’ll have his top target along for the ride.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.