I have over the course of the past several seasons turned to a series of articles around this time of year in which I looked to explore the issues and questions facing the Pittsburgh Steelers during the upcoming season and trying to identify the range of possibilities in which any given scenario can end.
I started out with a dual series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take and switched last season to the Devil’s Advocate series. In an attempt to find a more streamlined solution with a title more suited to the actual endeavor, we are introducing a simple Buy Or Sell segment exploring whether the position statement is likely to be worth investing in as an idea.
The range of topics will be wide, from the specific to the general, exploring broad long-term possibilities to the immediate future of particular players. I will make an argument for why a concept should be bought into as well as one that can be sold, and you can share your thoughts on which is the more compelling case while offering your own.
Topic Statement: Ben Roethlisberger has more years left on the field than does Maurkice Pouncey.
Ben Roethlisberger was drafted in 2004. He is 36. Maurkice Pouncey was drafted in 2010. He is going to turn 29. Both of them are, or at least have been, elite players at their positions. But one of those positions is much more age-friendly than the other when it comes to longevity of careers.
Pouncey has said in the past that he would retire when Roethlisberger does, though when the latter was talking about retirement last year, he joked that he needs to put in a couple more years still. The sentiment of course is that he doesn’t want to play with another quarterback. It was a couple of seasons before Landry Jones even ‘earned’ the right to take snaps from him.
But he’s also had a couple of major injuries in his career, and quite frankly he hasn’t played at the same level over the course of the past two seasons since that latest major injury, which required a number of surgeries.
As for Roethlisberger, he is pretty healthy at this point in his career and has been protected better than ever, so I have no difficulty imagining him playing and playing well for another five seasons. I’m not sure I see the same for Pouncey, playing at a position more prone to injury.
Roethlisberger even now still hedges his comments about the length of time he will continue to play, however, saying that he is going to evaluate his situation every year and make a decision. One can never know for sure that he isn’t going to up and retire after any one season.
Pouncey is also still looking for that Super Bowl ring, and he knows that Roethlisberger is his best chance to get one. If they don’t actually win one, they may well retire together. Or perhaps Mason Rudolph will win Pouncey over and he’ll play even beyond Big Ben.