Hey, it's a copycat league. That's why we probably should have seen this coming. After all, how could Ben Roethlisberger not prematurely announce that he's thinking about retiring from the NFL almost immediately after his season came to an extremely disappointing end? He basically had no choice but to follow suit after Earl Thomas popularized the idea of collecting sympathy by acknowledging a "possibility" that is absolutely, positively not going to come to fruition. Now, I don't doubt that Big Ben is both physically and mentally banged up, because Big Ben is literally always physically and mentally banged up. However, there's a better chance he sits out the season opener with a hang nail than there he is that he walks away from a team that has arguably the best running back and wide receiver in the sport. I'm not saying that he hasn't considered his future because he would be stupid not to with how many injuries he suffered, but I am saying that it's pretty fucking easy to throw around the 'R' word 36 hours into the offseason.
Not only that, but it's a hell of a scare tactic to use on the team that probably isn't too happy with him after he drove the bus over them on his way out of Foxboro...
“There were missed opportunities whether we didn’t execute well enough, whether plays weren’t made by me or other guys. At times it felt like maybe it was too big for some of the young guys.”
“It’s a little frustrating,” Roethlisberger said. “We talk about how sometimes it’s just one play here, one play there. Tonight we didn’t make those plays. Was [the moment] too big? I don’t know. We need to make every single play in a game like this, in a moment like this.
“Hopefully, this is a learning game for guys to understand this isn’t promised to anybody. Tomorrow isn’t promised. Just to make the playoffs isn’t enough. A lot of guys have been in the league for a long time and haven’t been to any of these. I hope they understand the importance and relish the opportunity if it comes again.”
Roethlisberger was asked if the young players understood the importance of the game during the week leading up to it. “I don’t know,” he said. “That’s a good question. That’s a good question for the guys. I know I did.”
Nothing will put those hard feelings in the rearview of his young receivers quite like threatening them with a full season of Landry Jones throwing them the ball. Causally blaming everyone else for a 19 point loss when you're the one that threw an interception and failed to punch an all-too-important TD from the one inch line can make you the bad guy pretty quickly, but it's impossible to harbor resentment for a two time Super Bowl winning quarterback when he implies that his professional clock is rapidly ticking towards retirement. Personally, I think this is a heaping load of horseshit and that Ben Roethlisberger is way too much of a borderline masochistic competitor to listlessly leave football after getting bent over the barrel and receiving a public colonoscopy at the hands of a bunch of "assholes". However, while I can't definitively guarantee that he'll be back in training camp this summer, I can definitively guarantee that the teammates he recently scapegoated will be waiting with open, indebted arms when he damn near inevitably does arrive.