Ben Roethlisberger didn’t look like a man who was planning on playing in 2021 in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s loss to Cleveland.
Between the tears and lingering on the bench, Roethlisberger seemed like he was done. But he said the now wasn’t the time to have the retirement discussion in his postgame press conference.
Roethlisberger is under contract for next season, but carries a high cap charge of $41.25 million that becomes official on March 17.
But at least on Wednesday, Roethlisberger’s head coach wasn’t pushing him out the door.
“I don’t have a clear assessment of the overall impact of the cap ramifications, so I might not have a direct answer to your question. But I think it’s reasonable to assume that there’s a chance that he’s going to be back, certainly,” Mike Tomlin said during his press conference. “The depth of the ramifications of the cap discussions, I am not privy to as I sit here right now.”
Tomlin also credited Roethlisberger for making it through the season healthy, as there were plenty of questions about his surgically repaired right elbow holding up. That injury caused him to miss 14 games in 2019. The quarterback finished the season completing 65.6 percent of his passes for 3,803 yards with 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
But given the cap implications and the fact that Roethlisberger will turn 39 next May, there’s plenty for both he and the Steelers to figure out heading into 2021.