Ben Roethlisberger teared up at the end of the Steelers’ 48-37 loss to the Browns in Sunday night’s AFC wild-card clash, leaving the season behind with his future uncertain.
The 38-year-old threw four interceptions in the defeat and had a snap fly past him on a defensive touchdown for Cleveland. He faces retirement speculation not only because of his age, but also because of his iffy play late in the 2020 campaign.
Roethlisberger’s emotions were perhaps the most striking visual of a year that began 11-0 but ended with five losses in six games.
The Steelers reportedly considered signing then-free agent Jameis Winston last offseason before Winston went to the Saints to sit behind Drew Brees. That left them with Mason Rudolph, a 2018 third-round pick, as the primary option behind Roethlisberger.
Rudolph holds a 82.7 career passer rating in 15 appearances. It’s unclear whether Pittsburgh would look elsewhere should Roethlisberger indeed decide he’s done with football.
But on Sunday night, the potential transaction dominos were a little too far off to consider. It was enough to dwell in the raw emotion of a franchise great.
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