In the moments after Monday’s win over the Bengals — in a game which saw two players stretchered off the field and one of his teammates hospitalized — Ben Roethlisberger chalked it up to “AFC North Football.”
But with time to reflect, he seemed to realize how brutal it was, and it apparently made him think about his own future again.
During his weekly appearance on 93.7 The Fan the next day, Roethlisberger was more circumspect, considering Ryan Shazier remains in a Cincinnati hospital being treated for a spinal injury.
“People get all over me for saying you have to contemplate every year on if you want to keep going,” Roethlisberger said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Plays like this make you really evaluate things.
“That’s why I say it’s a smart thing to do. It’s a violent game. And this game [against the Bengals] always seems to be that way. It’s crazy this sport we play.”
He also thought about his own family’s athletic future.
“When we talked in the offseason about evaluating and making sure, these are the reasons,” he said. “Having kids . . . I hope my son plays golf.
“If he wants to play football, that’s fine, too. But it’s a tough sport. It’s not for everyone. If he wants to do it, I’ll encourage it. If he doesn’t, I’m just fine with that as well.”
He admitted it was difficult to keep his thoughts on the game Monday, instead thinking of Shazier and his family. But the reality of his setting couldn’t be avoided.
“When you’re out there, you’re worried about him and his health, but you also understand that you have to continue to play a football game and you have to give your focus to that,” Roethlisberger said, “because if you’re not focused and in tune to what’s going on out there, you can get hurt as well.”
While such comments are a natural human reaction to seeing a co-worker taken off the field on a backboard, Roethlisberger’s own comments about retirement in the past will open that topic again this offseason.