PITTSBURGH -- It wasn't the Pittsburgh Steelers who suggested a pay cut for their quarterback; it was Ben Roethlisberger who wanted it to happen.
This offseason, Roethlisberger announced he will return to Pittsburgh for his 18th NFL season. The 39-year-old took a $5 million pay reduction this spring, freeing up $15 million in cap space for the Steelers.
And it was his idea.
"I told them I want to help the team out however we can," Roethlisberger told local media on Tuesday. "I went to them and told them I'll do whatever I could to help the team sign the guys that are going to help us win football games. I've been extremely blessed to play this game a long time. That was one of the reasons I wanted to come back. I knew we had a great defense and amazing weapons on offense.
"I wanted to come back and be part of a special football team, one that everyone is overlooking, which is kind of cool, too. In order to help get the guys, I felt it was necessary to do that."
With the extra money, the Steelers were able to re-sign Zach Banner, Cameron Sutton, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Tyson Alualu. They also reached out in free agency and added extra pieces.
"I felt it was the right thing to do if I wanted to play," Roethlisberger said. "I felt relatively healthy, all things considered at the end of the season. It just felt like I had more in the tank and felt disappointed with the way the season ended, obviously, and I hated to go out that way."
Roethlisberger has attended nearly every practice during the first week and change of Organized Team Activities. For a veteran of his status, it's not all the time you see a player stick around during voluntary workouts longer than a day or two.
Big Ben doesn't want to be anywhere else, though, and he doesn't want to be part of any other team, either.
"I'm black and gold through and through," Roethlisberger said. "I didn't want to go anywhere. That's what I told the Rooneys and coach Tomlin. I want to be here. I don't want to be anywhere else. This is home to me. Almost half of my life has been here playing football for the Steelers. That is why I told them I'd take a pay cut to stay here to help this team. This is what I believe in, this group and this city. To each quarterback out there, to each their own. To me, this is home, and I'm honored to have my career be here."
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