Ben Roethlisberger hints ex-Steelers GM Kevin Colbert wanted him to step down earlier: ‘He was ready to move on’

Ben Roethlisberger hints ex-Steelers GM Kevin Colbert wanted him to step down earlier: ‘He was ready to move on’

United States today

The Steelers are without Ben Roethlisberger when they enter training camp in 2022, which marks the first time in nearly two decades that the No. 7 has not been under center. And if it were up to recently retired general manager Kevin Colbert, who resigned after this spring’s draft, the star quarterback would have left at least a year early. As Roethlisberger contemplated his own retirement, he suggested to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this week that Colbert wanted him to hang up the cleats ahead of the 2021 season.

“It was mostly Kevin,” Roethlisberger told Ron Cook, explaining management’s preference for saying goodbye. “I think (coach) Mike (Tomlin) was a little bit willing to move on but I think he was okay with me coming back. I think Mr. (Art) Rooney really wanted me to come back to play last year.”

Colbert, of course, helped the Steelers identify their next long-term QB (or so they hope) by drafting Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett as the No. 20 overall pick that year. He previously oversaw a 2021 pay cut from Roethlisberger that facilitated the veteran’s return for an 18th NFL season.

“I thought I went on my terms,” ​​Roethlisberger added. “I never wanted to stay too long. I know some people might think I did it. … But I thought I played pretty well last year, to be honest. My arm feels like I can still go out and play pretty confident I could still play. But it’s every day. It’s mental. Not having to prepare for camp and the season has been the biggest blessing for me. I’m fine where I am with everything.

Since retiring, Roethlisberger said he’s stayed in touch with both Pickett and veteran new signing Mitchell Trubisky, the current favorite to open 2022 as the starting QB. He told Cook that he plans to watch the Steelers this season, likely from home, and that his next big goal is to reach the Pro Football Hall of Fame, for which he is first eligible in 2027.

“I did it for a long time,” Roethlisberger said of his time in the NFL. “I know it doesn’t mean you make it long, that you get in, but again you look at the wins and losses. I think I’ve done it at a high enough level long enough that I think it would be pretty cool to get in. It’s a special thing. This is a special place and a special achievement.

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