NFL

Ben Roethlisberger says he talked to 49ers about playing in 2022; Steelers legend explains why he declined

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Ben Roethlisberger on the 49ers? It could’ve happened. The former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback said he had discussions with San Francisco during the 2022 season.

Roethlisberger obviously did not take them up on the offer and decided remaining retired was the best choice for him. While speaking with Mark Madden on 105.9 The X, he discussed the 49ers reaching out and how he made his decision not to join their team.

The 49ers quarterback situation was complex to say the least, using four quarterbacks during the regular season. Trey Lance earned the starting job, and when he got hurt, Jimmy Garoppolo took over as QB1. Then Garoppolo got hurt, leaving rookie and last pick of the 2022 NFL draft Brock Purdy in charge of the offense. He got hurt in the NFC Championship Game and was replaced by Josh Johnson, who was then ruled out for the game with a concussion, causing Purdy to play with an elbow injury. Since clearly their quarterback situation was no easy ride, they reached out to a Super Bowl champion.

The 41-year-old played 18 seasons in the NFL for the Steelers before retiring in 2021. He said it was slightly tempting, but nearly two decades in the league proved to be enough for No. 7. His decision was also due to his loyalty to the Steelers, not wanting to ever put on another uniform in his career.

“They were, I think, reaching out maybe just to gauge my interest,” Roethlisberger said. “I had discussions. … I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was a small part of me that was intrigued. I could still do it and prove to people that I could still play. At the end of the day, I just can’t see myself in anything other than black and gold.”

When Roethlisberger said no, the team signed Johnson.

Football will add some wear and tear to players’ bodies, something Roethlisberger commented on, noting a change in how he feels post retirement.

“I love waking up in the morning and not having issues with my knees and shoulders and elbows,” he said.

Roethlisberger’s résumé includes two Super Bowl rings, an NFL Rookie of the Year honor and six Pro Bowl selections. He is also the record holder for the most passing yards in a career by a quarterback who only played for one team (64,088). 

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