A year after making it clear that he’d entered the Brett Favre year-to-year phase of his career, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger apparently has decided to make a longer commitment to the game of football,
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Roethlisberger has told teammates that he wants to play at least three more years.
Roethlisberger has a contract through 2019; the Steelers presumably would want him to stick around beyond that, assuming he’s still playing at a high level. He turns 36 in early March.
So why the sudden change? There’s apparently a link to what seems to be the impending departure of offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Bouchette suggests that Roethlisberger’s retirement musings from last year following a loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship may have been sparked by “some biting words” from Haley the day after the game.
Although a concerted effort was made to ensure that Roethlisberger and Haley would get along (or at least appear to get along) after the Steelers “retired” close Roethlisberger friend Bruce Arians in early 2012 and hired Haley, the relationship between Roethlisberger and Haley by all appearances has become strained. With Haley’s contract expiring and no extension in place, Roethlisberger’s willingness to stick around indefinitely may definitely be aimed at ensuring Haley gets “retired,” too.