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Roethlisberger retires: an emotional Steelers farewell

Ben Roethlisberger has announced his retirement after 18 impressive years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the quarterback is pleased with his time there.

Roethlisberger retires: an emotional Steelers farewell
Jay BiggerstaffUSA TODAY Sports

With two Super Bowls under his belt, Ben Roethlisberger officially announced on Thursday morning what we had all been expecting, that he would retire from the game.

Roethlisberger signs off from Steelers

At the age of 39 there was little surprise when the news came out and, just like many modern announcements, it came via social media. A touching video in which he emotional talks about his blessings and who he thanks, respects and loves.

That confirmation means that Roethlisberger's career at Pittsburgh ended with the 42-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card round. The Steelers quarterback threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns on 29-of-44 passing, but he also had to watch Patrick Mahomes' brilliance cut open his side and end their postseason bid. His tearful farewell to Heinz Field following a Week 17 win over the Cleveland Browns had already hinted to us his intentions.

The two-time Super Bowl winner, who has donned the Steelers' black and gold for his entire career, spoke glowingly after the postseason exit of his time in Pittsburgh as he looked back on his time with the franchise.

He said post-game: "Yeah it's tough, but I'm proud to play with these guys. God has blessed me with an ability to throw a football and has blessed me to play in the greatest city, in Pittsburgh, with the greatest fans and the greatest football team and players. 

"And it has just been truly a blessing, and I'm so thankful to him for the opportunity that he's given me. Just a bunch of guys that fought for each other, that fought their butts off and just competed. It wasn't always pretty, but there are a lot of games that we found a way. 

"I'm so proud of this group of men and the way they fight for each other, for the black and gold, for our fans. It's just been an honour to play with them."

Praise from Mahomes

Roethlisberger's opposite number in that game, Mahomes, finished with 404 passing yards and five touchdowns, and the veteran heaped praise on his fellow quarterback, who has since gone on to defeat the Buffalo Bills and set up a Championship game.

Mahomes responded in kind as he congratulated Roethlisberger on his Hall of Fame career.

"[He is] a tremendous player that I have a ton of respect for – the way he plays the game, the competitor that he is," Mahomes said. 

"He's won Super Bowls. He's a guy that I've watched growing up, and I have a ton of respect for him. That's what I told him, that if this is his last game, he did it the right way."

Steelers without Ben

Roethlisberger hopes this Steelers team can carry on the legacy he has left behind.

"I've been here a long time, and it's been a lot of fun," Roethlisberger said. "Like I said, God has blessed me. We joke about the Browns and going there [in the NFL Draft], but it was meant to be that I was going to wear black and gold. Draft day I had a black suit on with a gold tie.

"I'm just so thankful. I hope that I'm able to pass the legacy of what it is to be a Steeler from Dan Rooney. We all miss him, anyone that knew him misses him. Hopefully I can pass some of that on to some of the guys and they can continue the tradition of what it means to be a Steeler and get passed down.

"Whenever you get a bunch of new guys, once you start to lose some of the old regime if you will, you've got to find ways to pass it down. 

"And we've got some guys in there that will continue to do that. I gave Cam [Heyward] a big hug and told him it's on him now. It's his job to pass it down and to keep teaching and holding guys to the Pittsburgh standard."


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