Summer 2024

Ben Roethlisberger officially retires: 'Football has been a gift and I thank God for allowing me to play it'

After 18 seasons, 249 regular-season games, 23 playoff games, two Super Bowl championships, the third-most fourth-quarter comebacks, the fifth-most wins as a starting QB, and the fifth-most passing yards in NFL history, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger officially announced his retirement from football on Thursday.

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He did so by posting a video on his Twitter account.

“I don’t know how to put into words what the game of football has meant to me and what a blessing it has been,” the 39-year-old said in the video. “Well, I know with confidence I have given my all to the game and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all it has given me.”

“The journey has been exhilarating, defined by relationships and fueled by a spirit of competition,” he continued. “Yet the time has come to clean out my locker, hang up my cleats and continue to be all I can be to my wife and children. I retire from football a truly grateful man.

“First and foremost, I need to thank the Lord for all the many blessings He has bestowed on me. To my wife Ashley, our children Benjamin, Baylee and Bodie — you lift and inspire me, and give my life purpose. I am so thankful for your love and support. I love you so much.”

Roethlisberger’s announcement was expected to come any day, as it was widely thought that he played his last game on Jan. 16, when the Steelers fell to the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

“It’s tough,” he said after the 42-21 loss. “But I’m proud to play with these guys. God has blessed me with an ability to throw a football and has blessed me to play in the greatest city, in Pittsburgh, with the greatest fans and the greatest football team and players. It’s just been truly a blessing and I’m so thankful to Him for the opportunity that He’s given me.”

When asked that night what was next for him, Roethlisberger did not hesitate with his answer.

“I’m going to do everything I can to be the best husband and father I can be, and try and expand God’s Kingdom,” he said.

Roethlisberger continued to thank the Lord in closing out his video announcement Thursday.

“Football has been a gift and I thank God for allowing me to play it, surrounding me with great people, and protecting me through to the end,” he said in the video.

Roethlisberger is likely to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, considering he retires as one of his era’s greatest quarterbacks, and the best QB the Steelers organization has ever seen. His passing yards (64,088) and completions (5,440) rank fifth all time in NFL history, and his passing touchdowns (418) rank eighth. Those marks are all No. 1 in Steelers history.

After being selected by the Steelers with the 11th overall pick of the 2004 draft, Roethlisberger was named Rookie of the Year after starting and winning 13 games that season, which ended with a Steelers loss in the AFC championship game. Roethlisberger led the team to a Super Bowl championship the next season, and they won again three years later in the 2008 season. They made it back to the Super Bowl in the 2010 season, but lost. Pittsburgh advanced to the playoffs 12 times with Roethlisberger.

In 2007 he made the first of six trips to the Pro Bowl. He finishes his career with a 165-81-1 record; the Steelers never had a losing record with him behind center.

Over the past few years, Roethlisberger has also developed into a spiritual leaders on the team. Steelers team chaplain Kent Chevalier attributes that at least in part to the season-ending elbow injury Roethlisberger suffered in Week 2 of the 2019 season. That is the only time in his career Roethlisberger failed to appear in at least 12 games.

The QB shared his testimony with teammates and other members of the Steelers organization at the end of the 2019 regular season, talking about growing up in a Christian home but not pursuing his faith while in college at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He also spoke at the annual ManUp Conference in 2020, which is usually held in Pittsburgh but was virtual due to the pandemic.

“Three years ago I got baptized,” Roethlisberger said during the conference. “I was baptized as a kid; my parents took me as a baby. But I didn’t make that decision. So three years ago now I made the decision to be baptized because I felt like I needed to do that. I wanted to have a closer walk, a better relationship with Jesus, with my wife, with my kids, with my family — become a better person.

“So I think the person that brought me to Him was Jesus. Jesus is the One who brought me back to Him, and I’m so thankful for it because I feel I’m a better Christian, a better husband and a better father today because of His forgiveness of me.”

With his playing days now over, Roethlisberger can invest more time into his relationship with the Lord and his family.

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