The Steelers aren’t going to be the same without their favorite son, Ben Roethlisberger. The quarterback is retiring after 14 seasons in Pittsburgh and has been a huge part of the success that made this team one of the best in NFL history.
The “did ben roethlisberger retire” is a question that has been asked in the last few weeks. Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement from football on Monday, and Steelers fans have relished, celebrated, and reminisced about the quarterback’s era.
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Ryan Smith clutched a glass bottle of Redd’s Angry Ale in a parking lot outside Heinz Field an hour and a half before the Steelers’ last regular-season home game on Dec. 19. Smith blended in with the swarm of pregame revelers, wearing yellow, black, and gray camouflage leggings, a white No. 7 Ben Roethlisberger jersey, and a gold beanie with “Big 7 Ben” emblazoned across the crown.
Smith, a schoolteacher in Fremont, Ohio, recalls watching Roethlisberger play at neighboring Findlay (Ohio) High School when he was a few years younger. Roethlisberger destroyed Smith’s alma school for seven touchdowns as a senior.
Smith, a lifetime Steelers fan, purchased the first of four Roethlisberger shirts the night his old high school rival was picked by his beloved NFL club in 2004.
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“I wasn’t a huge fan back then,” Smith said. “However, as soon as he wore black and gold and was selected 11th overall, I became a Big Ben supporter.”
“Every week, I give him kudos.” People in my hometown make fun of him no matter who they are, but I defend him. He still performs a terrific job in my opinion. He may not be able to run, but he can certainly throw. That is all we need. He’ll receive the pass if you block for him. That’s the only thing that counts.”
Dedicated Steelers fans have made pilgrimages to witness Roethlisberger play one more time during what is virtually certain to be Roethlisberger’s last season.
Those excursions have grown more urgent in recent weeks, the importance of the occasion not missed on those who purchased tickets to his last games.
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Jason Cline, who drove five hours from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to see Roethlisberger in Kansas City on Dec. 26, said, “I’ve admired Ben ever since he came into the league.” Cline traveled with his father to Dallas for Roethlisberger’s fourth start. “His tenacity. “He’s a fantastic match for the squad,” the younger Cline added.
Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers have not always felt this way about their quarterback. The sexual assault charges and subsequent suspension, as well as a near-fatal motorbike accident, caused a schism between Roethlisberger and the city. As Roethlisberger continued to win and sought to move beyond his off-field difficulties with a calm, suburban family life, scabs grew over the fan base’s complaints.
Zach Steiner, 45, said, “You try to forget the negative things.” “It’s the same with anybody.” You search for the positive and strive to find the positives. So, no, I’m not thinking about how everyone chastised him for riding the world’s most powerful motorbike recklessly.
Shawn O’Connell (left) and Jason Cline (middle) are a father-son combination from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who traveled to Kansas City in Big Ben jerseys on Dec. 26 to witness Roethlisberger play in one of his last games. Brooke Pryor is an actress who plays Brooke Pryor.
“However, everyone wants to recall the happy times.” Everyone wants to remember him as the man who raised Lombardis and won games for us.”
Steiner and his Pittsburgh friend David Cousineau both took their girls to the Tennessee Titans game on Dec. 19. Taking Catherine, 16, to her first Steelers game was a bonding experience for Steiner, even if the gravity of the event may take a few years to set in.
Steiner responded, “Ben’s up there.” “It’s just him and Terry [Bradshaw].” I’m not sure whether she realizes the significance of it since this is her first game, but being able to say, ‘Yo, I saw that man play,’ will be amazing in the future.”
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