Could 2017 be last for Big Ben? Ex-teammate says he was close to retiring

Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger (7) walks off the field after getting sacked by Cincinnati Bengals' Vontaze Burfict (55) during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and Miami University product Ben Roethlisberger has a little diva in him so there was plenty of eye-rolling across the NFL when he announced back in late January that he was contemplating retirement. However, a former teammate says Big Ben was quite serious about doing it.

That begs the question: Could 2017 be the final season for him?

Former Steelers offensive lineman Willie Colon said it certainly could be.

Colon, who played with the 34-year-old Roethlisberger from 2006-2012 and started 62 games in that span before playing his final three NFL seasons with the New York Jets, said Roethlisberger wasn't just seeking attention when he talked about retiring.

"I got to sit down and talk to him and one thing he told me is he did take it seriously,” Colon told Pro Football Talk Live. “He’s dealt with a lot of injuries.”

Colon did say the fact the Steelers have a chance to have a great season and if the offensive line can protect Roethlisberger it could sway the quarterback to play beyond 2017. The Steelers are favored to win every game but two according to early lines set by a Las Vegas sportsbook and their over/under win total for the season was set at 10.5 by another Las Vegas sportsbook.

The Steelers must think Roethlisberger is closing in on retirement, because they signed backup quarterback Landry Jones to a two-year, $4.4 million contract this offseason and took Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs in the fourth round of this year’s draft.

For his career Roethlisberger is 123-60-0 as a starter in the regular season and 13-7 in the postseason, including leading the Steelers to Super Bowl titles after the 2005 and 2008 seasons.

Roethlisberger has been sacked the most times of any active quarterback (456) and the eighth-most of any quarterback since sacks became an official stat in 1982. He ranks 10th in NFL history in passing yards (46,814), ninth in touchdown passes (301) and ninth in passer rating (94.1).

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