Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger: 'MNF' likely last game at Heinz Field

UPI News
UPI News

Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger acknowledged that Monday night's game against the Cleveland Browns likely will be his final regular-season game with the franchise at Heinz Field.

"Looking at the bigger picture, I would say all signs are pointing to this could be it -- regular season, that is," Roethlisberger told reporters Thursday. "I know we still have a chance to potentially get a playoff game [at Heinz Field] if things fall our way and we take care of business and things have to happen.

"In the grand scheme of things, in terms of regular seasons, signs are pointing that way that this could be it."

The 39-year-old Roethlisberger, who returned to the team this year after reducing his salary in the off-season, has spent his entire 18-year NFL career with the Steelers after the franchise selected him with the No. 11 overall pick in 2004.

Through nearly two decades in Pittsburgh, the two-time Super Bowl champion and six-time Pro Bowl selection has compiled 63,721 passing yards and 416 passing touchdowns.

"I just want to win the football game," said Roethlisberger, who has a franchise-record 163 victories. "That's all that matters to me. That's always been my thing. I found out last week I've got 91 wins at Heinz Field and broke a tie with Brett Favre for quarterbacks winning in one facility.

"To me, that'll always mean more than yards and touchdowns and wins. I'm sure you can go back to my very first press conference, all I've ever said I wanted to do was win. And that's what is most important to me, that's what's going to be most important. I don't care if it's 3-0, I just want to win a football game because it's so important for our season."

Roethlisberger hasn't previously publicly confirmed that the 2021 season would be his final, though it's been expected within the franchise for some time. ESPN reported earlier this month that the veteran gunslinger began informing some in the organization and former teammates of his plans to retire after this season.

"It's 18 years, almost half my life I've given to this city and this team and these fans," Roethlisberger said. "But the fun thing is, I know I still have it in the tank to go out there this week and next week and give it everything I have -- to do everything I can to get us into the postseason.

"That's always the ultimate goal, to win us a Lombardi. That's still my goal. We're not out of this thing yet."

The Steelers currently are outside the playoffs with two weeks remaining in the season. Pittsburgh is set to face the Browns this week before another divisional matchup against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 18.

Entering this week, the Steelers (7-7-1) are 11th in the AFC standings, trailing the Cincinnati Bengals (9-6) and Ravens (8-7) in the AFC North.

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