Ben Roethlisberger suggests ex-Steelers GM Kevin Colbert wanted him to retire earlier: ‘He was ready to move on’

Ben Roethlisberger suggests ex-Steelers GM Kevin Colbert wanted him to retire earlier: ‘He was ready to move on’

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USA today

The Steelers will be without Ben Roethlisberger entering 2022 training camp, marking the first time in nearly two decades that No. 7 has not been under center. And if it were up to recently retired general manager Kevin Colbert, who resigned after the draft this spring, the star quarterback would have been gone at least a year earlier. Because of his own retirement, Roethlisberger suggested to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this week that Colbert wanted him to hang up his cleats before the 2021 season.

“It was mostly Kevin,” Roethlisberger told Ron Cook, explaining management’s preference for saying goodbye. “I think (Coach) Mike (Tomlin) was kind of ready to move on, but I think he was OK with me coming back. I think Mr. (Art) Rooney really wanted me to come back last year to play .”

Colbert, of course, helped the Steelers identify their next long-term QB (or so they hope) by drafting Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett No. 20 overall this year. He previously oversaw a 2021 pay cut from Roethlisberger, making it easier for the veteran to return for an 18th NFL season.

“I thought I went out on my terms,” ​​Roethlisberger added. “I never wanted to stay too long. I know some people might think I did… But I thought I played pretty good last year, to be honest. My arm feels like I could still go out and play. I’m pretty confident I could still play. But it’s every day. It’s mental. Not having to prepare for camp and the season has been the biggest blessing for me. I’m good with where I’m at with everything.”

Since retiring, Roethlisberger said he has stayed in touch with both Pickett and veteran addition Mitchell Trubisky, the current favorite to open 2022 as the starting QB. He told Cook that he plans to watch the Steelers this season, likely from his home, and that his next big goal is to reach the Pro Football Hall of Fame, for which he won’t be eligible until 2027.

“I did it a long time,” Roethlisberger said of his time in the NFL. “I know doing it for a long time doesn’t mean you’re going to get in, but again, you look at the wins and the losses. I think I did it at a high enough level for a long enough time that I think it would be pretty cool to get in. It’s a special thing. It’s a special place and a special achievement.”

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