Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has put up a Hall of Fame career since being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. Big Ben’s name is attached to two Super Bowl victories and was arguably an interception away from going down in NFL lore as one of the few signal callers to have won three NFL championships. However, despite all of the winning seasons and postseason victories, Roethlisberger’s body and head have taken a plethora of hits — on and off the field.
And the latter is the reason Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is questioning whether Big Ben is one hit away from potentially calling it quits.
You, Kevin Colbert, and many others have talked recently about how Ben has shown no signs of slowing down and that he could go strong for another 4-5 years. While it’s true that he’s playing as well as ever, and that his body seems to be holding up despite the hits he has taken and injuries he has suffered for the last decade, it’s not his body I am concerned about. It’s his brain.
How many reported or officially documented concussions has he suffered? I feel like I can count at least 2-3 on the field concussions on top of the one he suffered in the terrible motorcycle accident in 2006.
When you also consider his personal feelings on the issue, which you quoted in your article after the Seattle game last year, and how some players are choosing health over football (most recently with the Bills’ A.J. Tarpley), it makes me seriously wonder if Ben is one more serious concussion away from walking away
While this could be said for nearly any NFL player in their 30s, Roethlisberger does have a history of head injuries. And if history has taught us anything, it would be the rise of former NFL players suffering from the CTE disease that stems from the hits taken during their football careers.
And while the fan in me wants to see Big Ben play another four-five seasons, that might not be the best thing to do if it means potentially sacrificing his health long-term.
But enough of the somber news. Roethlisberger and the Steelers have high expectations this year. So even if Steelers insider Ed Bouchette ends up being correct in his analysis of Roethlisberger’s long-term playing availability, winning a Super Bowl this year would take the sting out of a possible early Big Ben exit from the game.