Almost a month before the NFL draft and the Steelers starting quarterback still has not confirmed he will be playing in 2017. During a recent speaking engagement at Liberty University, Ben Roethlisberger was quoted as saying he was ” leaning toward playing” this upcoming season. http://www.ignitemen.net/ When exactly will he be making a decision? Can he just flip a switch, and become 100% committed to the 2017 season after months of doubt in his mind? Will it just be the millions of dollars he stands to leave behind that will be motivating his return? These are all serious questions the Steelers must be asking themselves about their franchise quarterback. It’s been said many times that if an NFL player starts thinking about retirement, they probably should. Football is too tough a sport to not be all in mentally.
Looking at last season, there were signs that maybe Big Ben wasn’t as completely dedicated as he has been in the past. Roethlisberger played very little pre-season snaps at all in 2016. This being a year where Pittsburgh would be missing a key weapon in Martavis Bryant, and needed to break in new replacements. Young receivers like Sammie Coates, Eli Rogers, and Demarcus Ayers definitely could have used more reps with Ben in retrospect. Not to mention trying to he and free agent Ladarius Green They all struggled to get on the same page throughout the season. In fact Ben missed two of the 4 games, and totaled only 36 snaps all pre-season. During the season, it was reported that Roethlisberger often took Wednesdays off during the practice week. In a vacuum that may not mean much, but with the constant struggles the offense had last season it becomes a bigger deal. In comparison, Tom Brady never misses a practice and not coincidentally the New England offense never seems to struggle. Could this also be an explanation of his struggles on the road as well, or his difficulty in bad weather?
This is not to say Ben Roethlisberger is not a hard working or lazy player by any means. You clearly don’t reach the heights Ben has reached being that way. It is fair however, to begin to question just how much he wants to be an NFL player any more. If any part of his mind doesn’t want to be doing this anymore, his play will suffer. Maybe it already has. In any case, 75% of Ben Roethlisberger is far better then anything else the Steelers have or could acquire for 2017. The question is, can it be good enough to win a Super Bowl?