Ben Roethlisberger retires after 18 seasons with Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger retires after 18 seasons with Steelers

After 18 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger is officially hanging up his cleats.

In a video posted Thursday on Twitter, the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback announced he was retiring from the NFL.

“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,” said Roethlisberger, reading a letter while sitting next to his family.

“The journey has been exhilarating, fueled by a spirit of competition. 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.”

Roethlisberger, 39, won two championships as the starting QB for the Steelers and was the youngest QB to start in a Super Bowl (23). He was also the first QB to start two conference championship games in his first two seasons in the NFL (2004 and 2005).

“Big Ben” finishes his career with a regular-season record of 165-81-1 and a postseason mark of 13-10. He has the fifth-most wins for a QB all time — trailing only Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre — and his 64,088 career passing yards are also fifth-most all time, trailing the same four names.

Roethlisberger was taken with the 11th pick in the 2004 NFL Draft and went 13-0 in his first 13 professional starts, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year and setting the stage for his potential Hall of Fame career.

He went on to be named to six Pro Bowls and twice led the league in passing yards (2014, 2018). He owns the most career 500-yard passing games in NFL history (four, counting the postseason), and his eight career 450-yard games (regular season and postseason) are the most in NFL history.

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He also holds 50 career passing records for the Steelers franchise.

Roethlisberger became the fifth player in NFL history to record 150 wins as a starting quarterback in the regular season (Brady, Favre, Manning, Brees) and the fourth QB in NFL history to win 100 games in the first 150 starts of his career (Brady, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw).

He’s also one of six quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 13 consecutive 3,000-yard passing seasons (Favre, Manning, Brees, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning).

“To the Rooney family, coach [Mike] Tomlin, coach [Bill] Cowher and all the coaches that have poured into me — the incredible people on every level that make the Pittsburgh Steelers a special organization — thank you for believing in me and allowing me to battle with you in pursuit of excellence,” Roethlisberger said in his retirement letter.

“To Steeler Nation — the best fans in all of sport — thank you for accepting and supporting me as your quarterback over the years.”

On Thursday’s edition of “Undisputed,” Shannon Sharpe lauded Roethlisberger for, more than anything, his toughness while playing the QB position.

“He took a lot of punishment,” Sharpe said. “He’s the most sacked quarterback in NFL history. … He stood on that hill for the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Sharpe also addressed Roethlisberger’s Hall of Fame credentials, saying they could be in question due to off-the-field sexual assault allegations, which caused him to be suspended for the first six games of the 2010 season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

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“There’s a part of him off the field that people are going to judge him by also. The Hall of Fame voters are going to look very, very hard. I think Ben Roethlisberger, for what he did on the field, deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but it’s very complex when you look at his on-the-field and off-the-field.”

Colin Cowherd also discussed Roethlisberger’s retirement on Thursday’s episode of “The Herd,” saying that while he will go down in Steelers lore, he also left a lot on the table during his career.

“He is a first-ballot Hall of Famer … and he will be, I believe, very fondly remembered 20 years from now. … But the truth is, if you lived through the past 10 years, there was a lot of turbulence.

“Name the last time Big Ben won a big playoff game outdueling another top quarterback?”