When the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the New England Patriots in last year's AFC Championship Game, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took it hard.
With that loss weighing on his mind and various injuries he's had to overcome in recent years, he briefly considered retirement this offseason, something that made Pittsburgh fans very uneasy.
Big Ben ultimately decided to return, but his presence with the team this preseason shouldn't exactly be inspiring confidence in Steeler Nation.
As you can see in the picture below, Big Ben is clearly feeling his age (35) and then some. Following Tuesday's practice, the star quarterback had both knees and his throwing shoulder wrapped in ice:
Roethlisberger often takes big hits and has battled bumps and bruises, as well as more serious injuries, throughout his entire career. So, even if the ice isn't for anything serious, it's still not exactly a great sign.
Recently, Big Ben explained to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he wasn't as close to retirement as some people thought, but admitted that he did give it serious consideration:
“That’s all it was. It was just thoughts. It was just, I think, a prudent thing to do. Maybe I should’ve worded it, like, ‘Hey, I’m probably coming back, but I need to consider all my options.’ It had nothing to do with the [loss to the Patriots in the AFC championship] and this and that.
“It really was all about football, life, what’s going on at my age.”
At 35, it's not surprising that Roethlisberger is starting to think about retirement, as the NFL is a brutal league.
Big Ben went on to say that he doesn't want to commit to the future, but will instead give his full focus on the upcoming 2017 season:
“I hate to sit here and say that I’m gonna play for 10 more years, and I’ve said this before: I want to focus on this year,” Roethlisberger said. “I’m gonna give everything I have to this year, and if I’m gonna say ‘I’m definitely gonna be here in three years,’ well then, I’m cheating, I’m giving myself a timeline.
“I wanna be right here, right now and give everything I have to this. When I’m done, I’ll know I’m done.”
Roethlisberger threw for 3,819 yards and 29 touchdowns while appearing in 14 games, so he still has the talent to succeed in the NFL. With star running back Le'Veon Bell and receiver Antonio Brown returning to the offense, the Steelers should continue to have plenty of firepower this fall.
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