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Two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger has retired from the NFL after an 18-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Roethlisberger announced his retirement on Twitter, saying, “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 was drafted with the 11th overall pick by the Steelers in 2004. He also won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in his first season.
In Pittsburgh, he won two Super Bowl rings in the 2005 and 2008 seasons, and fans voted for him to play in the Pro Bowl six times. Affectionately known as Big Ben, he was also known for his grittiness and determination. He quickly became a leader for the Steelers under head coaches Bill Cower and Mike Tomlin. He was the backup to Tommy Maddox for the season opener in his rookie season but started Week 2. He led the team to a 13-0 record on the way to the AFC Championship Game, which they lost to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
In total, the Steelers earned 12 playoff berths under Roethlisberger’s leadership. The team also won eight AFC North Championships, appeared in five AFC Championship games, and went to three Super Bowls. He became the youngest quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl, at 23, when the team won Super Bowl XL, and the second-youngest quarterback ever to win a second Super Bowl when the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII.
The 39-year-old retires close to the top of most quarterback statistical measures in what is likely a Hall of Fame career. He is fifth in NFL history in pass completions (5,440) and fifth in total passing yards (64,088), only behind Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre.
On his retirement, Big Ben said, “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. I know with confidence I have given my all to the game, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all it has given me.”
Roethlisberger added, “The journey has been exhilarating, defined by relationships and fueled by a spirit of competition. Football has been a gift, and I thank God for allowing me to play it. Surrounding me with great people and protecting me through to the end with love and honor.” The football world speculated that Big Ben would retire at the end of the season, but it was never made official until now. Roethlisberger played his last game on January 17, 2022, where the Steelers lost to the Kanas City Chiefs, 42-21.
Ben Roethlisberger not only had a long career but a successful one. He retires at a time when he’s at the top of his game, yet he knows it’s time for him to bow out. God has blessed him throughout his career, so he should give God the praise as his career comes to an end. As far as what’s next for Big Ben, he hasn’t said, but we can all hope that it involves relaxation.