No single player will be more impacted by Maurkice Pouncey’s retirement than Ben Roethlisberger, and Pittsburgh Steelers fans may now have to worry about the quarterback second-guessing his own future in the NFL.
Pouncey and his twin brother Mike announced on Friday that they are retiring. Roethlisberger spoke Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the news, and Dulac was left with the impression that Pouncey retiring could impact Roethlisberger’s desire to play in 2021.
Roethlisberger says Pouncey called him and some other Steelers players on Thursday to deliver the news. Big Ben said he “didn’t feel right trying to talk him out of it.”
“I’m still processing him retiring,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s hard for me.”
While difficult, the decision was not unexpected. Roethlisberger says Pouncey told the Steelers following their playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns that he had played his final game. He didn’t make it official until this week.
“I hate to say he’s the greatest teammate and competitor I’ve ever been around, but at the end of the day that’s what it is — he’s the greatest teammate and competitor I’ve been around,” Roethlisberger told Dulac. “And that’s no slight to anybody else.”
Roethlisberger and Pouncey had an emotional exchange on the bench following the loss to Cleveland. Big Ben said how badly he felt for his teammate, as Pouncey never won a Super Bowl in Pittsburgh. You can see the video of the exchange here.
All indications to this point have been that Roethlisberger will be back next season. We tend to doubt that Pouncey’s retirement will cause him to change his mind, but you never know.