Will Roethlisberger’s Absence Become A Permanent One?

Megan Sigismonti, Co-Editor-In-Chief

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Sixteen seasons. 363 touchdowns. Seven time AFC North Division Champion. Seventh ranked quarterback in the NFL. And two Superbowl wins to top it off. Ben Roethlisberger has had an unquestionably successful career, dating back from when he joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004. Since then, Roethlisberger has definitely made his mark on the NFL, becoming a crowd favorite in the process. Recently, a huge question has confronted the Steelers franchise: when will Roethlisberger retire? Although his retirement remains a hushed subject amongst most football fans, the topic may arise sooner than later.

It was week two of the NFL season, the Steelers were playing the Seattle Seahawks, and the final black-and-yellow drive of the first half came crashing down. As soon as he released his last pass of the half, Roethlisberger gripped his elbow in pain and briefly went into the locker room in the midst of the second quarter. And just like that, Roethlisberger’s season came to a halt and Steelers fans everywhere waited with bated breath.

Not only did they lose the game 28-26, but they lost the face of the franchise. For Roethlisberger, it will be the first time in his sixteen seasons that he will play less than twelve regular season games.

The next day, Roethlisberger successfully received elbow surgery in Los Angeles at the Cedars-Sinaikerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, by Dr. Neil ElAttrache. According to the Steelers’ spokesman, Burt Lauten, in an interview with CBS Sports, Roethlisberger “‘will immediately begin working with the Steelers medical staff on his rehabilitation, and he is expected to make a full recovery and return to the field for the 2020 NFL season.’’’

For the first time since 2003, the Steelers are in jeopardy of a losing season. Backup quarterback, Mason Rudolph, made his first career start stepping in for Roethlisberger in the second half, but nonetheless the Steelers could not pull a victory against the Seahawks. Now 2-4, the future isn’t looking too bright for Rudolph and the team.

In that same interview with CBS Sports, Roethlisberger says, ‘“This is shocking and heartbreaking for me, to miss this much of a season and feel like I am letting down so many people. I can only trust God’s plan, but I am completely determined to battle through this challenge and come back stronger than ever next season.”’ Once again, the question of Roethlisberger’s retirement status arose, but Roethlisberger quickly replied with a statement of allegiance to the franchise: “‘The Steelers committed three years to me this offseason and I fully intend to honor my contract and reward them with championship level play.’’’

Roethlisberger’s injury has dramatically shaken up the future of the 2019 season. The AFC North is especially altered by the Steelers’ recent deficit. The Steelers have won twenty-three total division championships since 1970, leading the AFC North. Now there may be the chance for a new head honcho, whether it be the Baltimore Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals, or even the Cleveland Browns.

Another possibility rising out of the injury conversation is that Mason Rudolph could potentially become the main quarterback for the Steelers, pushing Roethlisberger out of the picture. Fans immediately provided uproar against this prediction.

Regardless of the rumors shaking the Steelers franchise, Roethlisberger continues to remain loyal and determined to play in 2020. Roethlisberger affirms this in his statement to CBS: “‘I love this game, my teammates, the Steelers organization and fans, and I feel in my heart that I have a lot left to give.”’