Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger says he's ready for a new chapter in life with God at the helm.
Following his team's 42-21 NFL playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday night in the AFC's wild-card round, he told reporters in the post-game press conference that he's been blessed to be able to play football, but he's preparing to move on. "I'm going to do everything I can to be the best husband and father I can be and try to expand God's kingdom," he said.
Even though he's not yet uttered the word "retirement," the six-time Pro Bowl quarterback, who returned the Steelers to prominence with a pair of Super Bowl wins, sounded like he had played his last game in the NFL.
"It's tough. I'm proud to have played with these guys," he quietly told the assembled media. "God has blessed me with an ability to throw a football and has blessed me to play in the greatest city, Pittsburgh, with the greatest fans and the greatest football team and players, and it's just been truly a blessing and I'm so thankful to him for the opportunity that he's given me."
Ben Roethlisberger addresses the media: pic.twitter.com/l3eeMO4MQY
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) January 17, 2022
Roethlisberger spent his entire NFL career of 18 seasons wearing the Steelers' black, gold and white. The Miami University alumnus won 165 NFL games, threw for more than 64,000 yards, and kept the success going through hundreds of teammates along with plenty of controversy and drama.
"I've been here a long time, and it's been a lot of fun," Roethlisberger said. "Like I said, God has blessed me … It was meant to be that I was going to wear black and gold. Draft day I had a black suit on with a gold tie. I'm just so thankful."
His career began with winning the AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year award and it ended with Roethlisberger leading a team few thought playoff-worthy to the postseason.
“I mean, shoot, we thought last week was going to be the end,” he said. “We got blessed to play another football game. Didn't end the way we wanted it to, but it's a blessing to play this football game. How lucky are we that we get to play football for a living? We have to count our blessings.”
When asked by a reporter if he was excited for the next phase of his life, Roethlisberger chuckled, "I'm nervous. No, I am excited. Just because I get to go home tonight. I assume we're going to make it out and get home. We've got snow and so the kids are already playing and tubing and doing sledding and stuff. So being a husband and father, you never take a day off. You got to keep going. And so, as we move from one chapter to the next, it's going to be different, but it's going to be fun. It's going to be a new challenge, and I'm looking forward to it."
There had been reports the Steelers quarterback was planning to retire at the end of this season. As CBN News reported, Roethlisberger thanked his fans, family, and the Lord a few weeks ago in what was likely the last home game on Jan. 3.
Emotions were running high as "Big Ben' took a victory lap around Heinz Field after the Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns that day, 26-14.
"I'm just so thankful for the fans, my family obviously and the good Lord has blessed me in so many ways," he told ESPN on the field right after the game. "We still got another game and I'll be excited and ready to go for that, but this is just an awesome place."
When he left Heinz Field that night, three large words were posted on the large video board, "Thank you Ben."
CBN News has previously reported that Roethlisberger has been open in recent years about his shift toward pursuing Christian faith.
After suffering a brutal elbow injury in 2019, he acknowledged God. "I can only trust God's plan, but I am completely determined to battle through this challenge and come back stronger than ever next season."
Roethlisberger wasn't always an outspoken follower of Christ, but he opened up about a big life change at the ManUp Conference in 2020. "Three years ago I got baptized," Roethlisberger said, according to Sports Spectrum. "I was baptized as a kid; my parents took me as a baby. But I didn't make that decision. So three years ago now I made the decision to be baptized because I felt like I needed to do that. I wanted to have a closer walk, a better relationship with Jesus, with my wife, with my kids, with my family — become a better person."
"So I think the person that brought me to Him was Jesus. Jesus is the One who brought me back to Him, and I'm so thankful for it because I feel I'm a better Christian, a better husband, and a better father today because of His forgiveness of me," he said.
EDITOR'S NOTE: In reporting about steps that high-profile individuals may be taking to seek God or start a relationship with Him, CBN does not endorse past or current behavior that may not line up with the Word of God. As we report positive developments in celebrities' spiritual journeys, we encourage our readers to pray for anyone and everyone in the news, that the fruit of God would grow in all of our lives.