Even though Ben Roethlisberger decided to come back for this season, he is still considering retirement. Roethlisberger told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazettethat he’s not willing to commit to playing past 2017.
Roethlisberger’s announcement in January that he was contemplating walking away from the NFL came as a bit of a surprise
“I’m going to take this off-season to evaluate, to consider all options,” Roethlisberger said in an interview on a Pittsburgh radio station. “To consider health, and family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season, if there’s going to be a next season.”
The 35-year-old said in April that he would be back under center this year but told Bouchette that there was no guarantee he’d play beyond 2017.
“It’s just, it’s 14 years; that’s a long time,” Roethlisberger said. “I think the average life expectancy in the NFL is 3 years, maybe 3½ now.
“I’ve been blessed to do this a long time. I think it’s just seeing my kids growing up, and in the offseason I love getting to spend time with them, and then I come here and football season just has to take up so much of your time. Even when you get home, I try my best to turn it off when I walk in the front door. I think I do a pretty good job of that, but it still consumes you in a way.
“Just all those things combined — being healthy, being able to play catch with my kids. I feel good mentally, I know this new study that came out that 90 percent [of NFL] players’ brains who were studied had CTE.
“There’s a lot of scary things, and I think my wife would be OK if I hung it up, too. But I still love the guys, I still love the game, so it was right for me to come back and give it everything I have this year.”
Roethlisberger is referring to a study released Tuesday by Boston University that diagnosed CTE in 110 of the 111 football players whose brains it examined. It’s important to note, though, that the results don’t suggest that 99% of football players have CTE. Many of the players who donated their brains to the study already believed they had CTE.
More than any other quarterback of his era, Roethlisberger is known for playing through injuries. He has had numerous concussions, as well as injuries to his shoulder, knee and foot. He missed two games last season with a knee injury and four games in 2015 after hurting his foot and knee.
This will be Roethlisberger’s 14th NFL season, all with the Steelers. Backup quarterback Landry Jones signed a two-year contract extension this spring.