It’s been a month since he made overtures that he wasn’t sure about playing in 2017 and the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t have an idea as to what quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s plans are.
If you are a betting man, you offer the mortgage and your first-born child that No.7 will line up behind center this coming season.
After 2017, it could be anyone’s guess. The fact the two-time Super Bowl champion even brought up the notion that he could hang up his cleats suggests the thought is real if the action is not. Retirement becomes a topic of conversation when you have had a Hall of Fame caliber and injury-filled career like Roethlisberger, who was taken after Eli Manning and Philip Rivers in the 2004 NFL Draft.
As Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com wrote, “Many have weighed in on the status of Ben Roethlisberger’s playing career, including his general manager, his team owner and even his former offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians.
“All three loosely expect Big Ben to return for a 14th NFL season at age 35. But exactly one month since Roethlisberger made the comments on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan to evaluate “if there’s going to be a next season,” the Steelers quarterback has mostly gone silent.”
There is a song that claims you say it best when you say nothing all. In this case, silence may be deafening, but the Steel Town fans and the organization are still going about their business if nothing is changing. The fact Roethlisberger would call it quits would be an even bigger story than not knowing.
Fowler said Roethlisberger has spent time in California with his agent, Ryan Tollner. He’s played ping-pong with former Pitt star and cancer survivor James Conner, whom Tollner’s Rep 1 Sports also represents. Roethlisberger appeared on a podcast with Kentucky coach (and former Pittsburgh-area resident) John Calipari, but the topic of next season was not addressed.
No news is good news.
But in the interest of looking in the Magic 8-Ball, let’s assume the end is near and instead of the organization falling flat on its face like it did in 1983 (not taking Dan Marino), the Rooney’s and head coach Mike Tomlin decide to go fishing in the upcoming NFL Draft. It’s a guarantee Pittsburgh won’t take a signal caller in the first round and probably not in the second. But there is a chance in the middle of this draft an announcement will be made the Steelers will select the “quarterback of the future.”
Here’s a look at a few options for Pittsburgh come April.
Brad Kaaya, Miami – From the moment Kaaya stepped on campus in south Florida, he was tagged as a first round draft pick. Kaaya, at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, could develop into a good NFL quarterback. He would benefit from standing on the sideline and learning for a year or two. He needs to add bulk and has been compared to Jared Goff – for whatever that is worth – which means he has room to grow.
Davis Webb, California – He is a big kid at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. He looked good in all-star games and could show he is a late first-round pick after the Combine. I like this guy, but his buzz of late makes it almost a sure bet someone will bite on him early, thinking he is the this year’s Dak Prescott. He started out at Texas Tech and transferred to California, following Goff’s exit from college. He will be a starter in this league, but may be taken too high in this draft.
Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh – I have watched his game since playing college here in town. He is a solid quarterback who left the SEC and Tennessee to move to the ACC and the Panthers. Peterman was impressive in the Senior Bowl. He has a nice arm and has experience playing in a pro-style offense at Pittsburgh. He is certainly worth a look in the third or fourth round. He could not beat out Josh Dobbs at Tennessee, but looks to be a better draft prospect.
Chad Kelly, Mississippi – Kelly’s off-field issues have excluded him from the Combine, but that may not preclude teams from avoiding him in the draft. Kelly could not beat out Deshaun Watson at Clemson, transferred to Ole Miss and had a solid college career. He has a good frame at 6-foot-2 and 224 pounds. The off-field issues involving a confrontation at a high school football game concern me and rumors of him smoking marijuana could push teams away. This organization could take him late (6th round) and have the steal of the draft.