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Ben Roethlisberger calls his career with Steelers 'an honor'

1/17/2022 1:21:20 PM
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Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn't use the word retirement following Pittsburgh's season-ending 42-21 playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs but called his 18-year career with the franchise "an honor'' and said he is "looking forward" to the next chapter, Jeff Legwold of reports.

Roethlisberger and the Steelers didn't get the happy ending they had hoped for to cap his career during Sunday night's AFC wild-card showdown at Arrowhead Stadium, one in which he finished 29-of-44 passing for 215 yards and two second-half touchdowns after the game had long been decided.

Afterward, most involved acted, and spoke, as if they had seen Roethlisberger play for the final time for the only team whose uniform he has worn in his NFL career.

"Man, he was [No.] 7. It's been an honor and a pleasure, man,'' Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.

Describing his emotions coming out of the game and walking off the field, Roethlisberger said, "Yeah it's tough, but I'm proud to play with these guys. God has blessed me with an ability to throw a football and has blessed me to play in the greatest city, in Pittsburgh, with the greatest fans and the greatest football team and players. And it has just been truly a blessing, and I'm so thankful to him for the opportunity that he's given me.

"Just a bunch of guys that fought for each other, that fought their butts off and just competed. It wasn't always pretty, but there are a lot of games that we found a way. I'm so proud of this group of men and the way they fight for each other, for the black and gold, for our fans. It's just been an honor to play with them."

Roethlisberger has played in 249 regular-season games for the Steelers, and Sunday night's outing marked his 23rd postseason start for the team.

Roethlisberger, who will turn 40 on March 2, has not formally announced his retirement from the league. But he had hinted as much even before the Steelers' final home game of the regular season in Week 17 when he said "all signs are pointing to this could be it.'' He also did a lap around Heinz Field thanking fans after Pittsburgh's 26-14 win over the Cleveland Browns.

"I've been here a long time, and it's been a lot of fun,'' Roethlisberger said when asked Sunday what impact he has had on the Steelers franchise. "We joke a lot about the Browns and going there, but it was meant to be that I was going to wear black and gold.

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