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Ben Roethlisberger Officially Announces His Retirement
After 18 seasons as the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger officially announced his retirement Thursday morning.

In a video posted to his Twitter account, Roethlisberger announced what became obvious over the final weeks of the 2021 season.

"The journey has been exhilarating, fueled by a spirit of competition," Roethlisberger said. "Yet the time has come to clean out my locker, hang up my cleats and continue to be all I can be to my wife and children. I retire from football a truly grateful man."

In his time with the Steelers, one of the league's most storied franchises, Roethlisberger reached an NFL-record 18 seasons without ever having a losing campaign. With Roethlisberger at the helm, the Steelers were always in the mix, culminating with a Super Bowl XL win with head coach Bill Cowher and a Super Bowl XLIII triumph alongside Mike Tomlin.

He led the Steelers to three Super Bowl appearances in all (Pittsburgh lost Super Bowl XLV to Green Bay), 12 postseason berths and eight division titles.

Statistically speaking, Roethlisberger's career is among the all-time greats.

He finishes his career ranked eighth in passing touchdowns (418), and fifth in passing yards (64,088), completions (5,440) and attempts (8,443).

In terms of the Steelers, Roethlisberger is the franchise standard in QB wins, passing yards, passing TDs, completions, attempts, 300-yard passing games, game-winning drives and fourth-quarter comebacks.

Roethlisberger's 165 wins are the second-most behind Tom Brady with New England for most QB wins in a career with a single team.

As's Grant Gordon noted, though the great Terry Bradshaw owns four Super Bowl titles with the Steelers, Roethlisberger's dominance in every other category makes an argument for being the best quarterback in the history of one of the league's best franchises.

Roethlisberger's prowess through the air also brought about a significant change to the storied franchise, which for so long was known for its defense and running game leading the way.

Big Ben was a starter from the onset, taking over the reins from Tommy Maddox as a rookie. He was 13-0 as a first-year starter on a 15-1 Steelers squad and was promptly voted AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, emerging from a legendary 2004 first-round draft class that featured fellow QBs Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and safety Sean Taylor.

It was the start of a career that saw six Pro Bowl trips.

While Roethlisberger's arm strength waned in past seasons, it was only four years ago in 2018 that he tallied a career-high 5,129 yards to lead the NFL.

His ability to prolong plays and hang tough to complete throws became a calling card, but it also led to him being sacked more than any quarterback (since at least 1970, per NFL Research).

When he was selected by the Steelers 18 years ago out of Miami (Ohio), there were high hopes for Big Ben to become a franchise quarterback and add to Pittsburgh's legacy of winning.

He did that and then some.

Gordon also noted it was a career not without its controversies.

Roethlisberger was involved in a serious motorcycle accident in June of 2006 in which he wasn't wearing a helmet.

In July of 2009, he had a civil suit filed against him for sexual assault that concluded with a settlement. In March of 2010, Roethlisberger was investigated for sexual assault, but the district attorney declined to press charges. Roethlisberger was suspended four games (reduced from six) to start the 2010 season due to violation of the NFL's personal-conduct policy.

Nonetheless, the Steelers were an AFC heavyweight just about every season as Roethlisberger kept Pittsburgh a contender in an era in which Brady and Peyton Manning carved out iconic careers.

"Now it's on to a new era for the Steelers and on to the Hall of Fame for Roethlisberger," Gordon summed up.

And what about the Stelers?

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported last week that a likely scenario is current Steelers quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins and Mason Rudolph will have a shot at competing for the spot, while Pittsburgh also adds a QB in the draft.

It's an opportunity ahead that Rudolph and Haskins are each relishing.

"I can maybe be a bit more myself, being the leader that I've always been at the quarterback position and not worried about stepping on the toes of a longtime Hall of Fame player," Rudolph said, via ESPN's Brooke Pryor.

Said Haskins: "I definitely feel like I could be a starter in this league. I got drafted for that reason. I definitely believe I have talent to play with the best of them, but really, I just haven't put it all together yet. And that's something I have to do this offseason in order to put myself in that position to play."

Haskins didn't play at all in 2021 for the Steelers after signing with them in the offseason.

The 15th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Washington Football Team, Haskins proved to be a bust for Washington. He lasted just two seasons and was 3-10 as a starter with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

As a hopeful reclamation project under the tutelage of Tomlin, Haskins was signed to a reserve/futures contract last year. He's set to become a restricted free agent, but is grateful for the prospect of a second chance with the Steelers.

"They're giving me a chance to compete and I have a chance to start," Haskins said. "That's all I could ask for."

Rudolph had a chance previously to show his mettle as the Steelers' starter with Roethlisberger injured in 2019. Pittsburgh's 2018 third-round draft choice largely struggled, going 5-3 as a starter with 1,765 yards, 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions and an 82.0 QB rating.

"I'm ready to get the opportunity again to prove myself," Rudolph said. "I understand what I've put on tape in 2019, and up to this point, there's still question marks on my game, and I want to prove those people wrong. And I want to prove to myself and to my teammates. It's one day at a time."

The question -- and competition -- as to who will be Roethlisberger's successor is just getting started.