2017 Offseason Questions: How Much Longer Will Ben Roethlisberger Play?

The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: How many more seasons is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger likely to play now that he has committed to the 2017 season?

The ‘big’ news came down yesterday that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger elected to formally commit to play for the 2017 season. But he still has two years left on his contract beyond the 2017 season. So now the question becomes, how much longer might he actually play?

Of course, it’s an impossible question to answer definitely because it’s ultimately up to Roethlisberger when he chooses to call it a career. He has clearly demonstrated that he is not likely to simply continue to play for as long as he can for the sake of doing so. He has already logged 13 seasons under his belt, after all, and accomplished just about everything there is to accomplish.

He has talked about his health and his family being priorities in his decision-making, which, really, when are they not. The family matter is one thing, but the health is another. The Steelers can play a role in that. They have significantly cut down on the number of sacks he has taken in recent years, but it hasn’t managed to allow him to escape some injuries that have kept him from playing all the same.

Still, Roethlisberger ultimately is a competitor. According to his teammates, he competes at everything, including garbage can basketball with balled-up pieces of paper. I think his heart will tell him to play longer than his mind does.

If I were going to take a stab in the dark at this, I would say that Roethlisberger finishes out his current contract and even signs another one. Maybe for two or three years, but it’s hard to say if he would actually play that one out.

Winning another Lombardi Trophy could change things in an instant, of course. Many players feel the time is right to call it a day when they go out on top. Although John Elway came back for two Super Bowls because he knew how strong a chance he had at more than one. And we know how often he has been compared to Elway—who played 16 seasons until he was 38, which would be the same tenure and (nearly) age that Roethlisberger will be at the end of this contract.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Kevin artis

    I say he plays out having currrent contract unlesss he wins a super bowl

  • Applebite

    As long as he keeps NFL writers blocked on Twitter, he’ll have a long, productive career until 40 yrs old, lol.

  • Jaybird

    I’d be happy to get two more years out of Ben , and thrilled if we get three.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I said before last season even started that I thought if Roethlisberger won an SB he would retire so none of what happened after really surprised me. I have said it before but I think some of it has to do with who he is in the locker room with. After Heath decided to hang it up there was essentially nobody left that Roethlisberger came up playing with.

    The health and family stuff is going to be something on your mind every season of your career almost, but losing everyone in the locker room you have been close to over the years is something that can really hit home when you are showing up to work everyday.

    And think of the type Ben Roethlisberger is. He wants that close enviornment and he likes working with young players but look at what he is dealing with compared to when he first came in. You have super diva Antonio Brown with the celebrations and locker room incidents, you have Martavis Bryant twice suspended who Ben seemed really betrayed by, and you have twice suspended Le’veon Bell. I am not saying this to knock those guys, but to make a bigger point about what Ben came up with vs what he has around him now. It has to mean something to him.

  • ryan72384

    I say he retires if we win another super bowl (best case scenario) or after New England shreds our zone defense again and he realizes it’s a lost cause with Butler and Tomlin. Whichever happens first.

  • Steelers12

    money on 2, no more than 3

  • Carlos

    He wins and leaves or plays out his contract … but no more

  • EdJHJr

    Then who, is the better question

  • Jason Vancil

    ’17 & ’18.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Well put and exactly what I was going to say.

  • SilverSteel

    I think he is starting to realize that they need more than just a couple of players. There are management issues that need to be fixed also. No amount of good players will fix our scheme issues or game management. I hate to beat that old horse, but we needed a wake up call to mold our schemes into one that plays to our strengths. If we go out there next season and do the same old tired/soft defensive scheme and lose it all again, he will retire, and should. Also, there is absolutely no excuse to have ST play the way they do. That’s on Tomlin. Fix it… I can’t believe we didn’t change ST coaches in the off season.

  • RickM

    That’s a very bold suggestion that he may (key word “may”) play beyond his current contract. That would be quite the bonus if he could play through the AB and anticipated Bell contracts. While he made me waver, I’m still betting on 3 more years to match one of the two QB’s he admired growing up (Elway and Montana). Wears Elway’s number and plays the same 16 years. That may sound good in his mind.

  • ryan72384

    Yep I agree with you 100 percent. Same result this year and I think he will retire. Your right special teams is a trainwreck and it doesn’t get addressed. Smith and Butler should both have been gone. Our defense looks the same as it did 10 years ago and it’s bad when the other team makes fun of the fact that we still run the same garbage scheme every year. And for these reasons I have zero optimism going into this season as far as us reaching and winning the super bowl. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that gameplan that they came up with for the AFCCG. No faith in our coaching staff at all. None.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Saying what most others are saying here.. two years for sure, the third up in the air.

  • Milliken Steeler

    I think he’s gonna play two more years and call it. Injuries, possibly some of his faith in key team mates, the wife I’m assuming, is in his ear a little.

    If Ben can actually look realistically at his team. he probably see’s a team that on offense on paper, should be really good yet, injuries, suspensions and inconsistencies seem to plague the team especially against good defenses.

    The defense while getting better, isn’t Championship quality yet and lets be honest, they have been out schemed at times. He is beaten up, he has some issues with arm strength at times. My guess based on all of the variables is two years.

  • francesco

    This is BR final year. Next year he will be fishing and hunting with Ariana.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    If we win sb this year he is done. If not he may still be done.

  • Wayne’O

    Hopefully he’ll play out his contract. Then we’ll begin a new chapter, in a new decade for the 2020 season. This is why we need to surround him with the best talent possible beginning with this 2017 draft.

  • Zach

    i’d guess this is his final yr — some people are taking too light all his retirement talk stuff. the fact that the guy waited until april (i.e. not only a few weeks after the season was over) has to mean something. i’d guess that his chances of coming back next yr are 25% at this point. remember that ben has been beaten up and had his fair share of concussions. when you have a family and see a teammate like L Green sitting almost the whole yr with concussion symptoms, you have to think really hard if you want to play much longer for another SB.