PITTSBURGH — The Steelers continued their valiant but ultimately futile comeback attempt on Sunday night after spotting the Cleveland Browns 28 points early in what became a 48-37 season-ending loss.
After the game, the players of both teams briefly lingered on the field, exchanging congratulations and condolences as NFL players usually do after a game.
On the Pittsburgh sideline, 38-year-old Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found the bench.
Roethlisberger took a seat and stayed there, soaking in the moment after all of the Browns and most of his teammates had departed. Moments later, center Maurkice Pouncey took a seat next to him.
Pouncey, and 11-year vet, and Roethlisberger, who just finished his 17th season, sat together, and greeted the few remaining Steelers teammates that stopped for a moment to exchange a hug or a greeting, including Terrell Edmunds, Vance McDonald and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Eventually, it was just the two of them, surrounded by a few Heinz Field groundskeepers getting a head start of wrapping up the football season at the venue.
Pouncey and Roethlisberger then walked off the field together, side-by-side into the Steelers’ locker room.
“I love that guy,” Roethlisberger said. “He is one of the best competitors and teammates I’ve ever had. It has been so much fun to share a football way with him. I hate that it ended the way it did. I just wanted to apologize to him. I wanted to win it for him.”
Last two off the field, walking off together.
Feels pretty symbolic. pic.twitter.com/E70eqEjKHE
— Alan Saunders (@ASaunders_PGH) January 11, 2021