Ever since he broke onto the scene as a 22-year-old in 2004, Ben Roethlisberger has been the face of the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise.
Compiling a 123-60-0 regular-season record and 13-7 playoff mark, the five-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion has thrown for 46,814 yards with 301 touchdowns and 160 interceptions in his career.
After leading the Steelers to a playoff berth in 2016, in which he went 10-4 in his 14 games started, Roethlisberger was far from definitive when it came to pinpointing whether or not he would be returning in 2017
Suffering yet another heartbreaking postseason defeat to the New England Patriots and dealing with a number of injuries over the past couple of seasons, the 35-year-old considered hanging up his cleats.
Now, after months of waiting, he made up his mind.
In a simple tweet, Big Ben typed the following:
Not only will he be back, but he will be at his “absolute best”.
Those are certainly encouraging words for Steeler Nation. It also must be a huge weight lifted off of their shoulders.
Following the loss in the AFC Championship game, Roethlisberger told local radio station 93.7 The Fan that he planned to “take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options, to consider health and family and things like that, just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season, if there's going to be a next season.”
AFC Championship – Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots
Throughout the journey, head coach Mike Tomlin had been in constant contact with his veteran quarterback as he weighed his options.
"As an organization, we have been hopeful that Ben would return this year," Tomlin said, via Steelers.com. "Ben and I have had many conversations, and I understood at this point in his career he is going to have to think about his long-term future. There is no question Ben wants to win [another] championship for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and we know he will do everything possible to lead our entire team to achieving that goal.”