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Ben Roethlisberger Admits ‘Locker Room Was Different’ in Final Season




Ben Roethlisberger knew his time was up as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting quarterback.

And that meant his time in the NFL had come to an end, too.

Speaking on his podcast, Footbahlin’ with Ben Roethlisberger, the future Hall of Famer opened up on his final season in the black and gold. Roethlisberger was joined by now-retired Steelers defensive lineman Brett Keisel on the show, which prompted the discussion.

“It’s been … I’ve been good,” Roethlisberger began after Keisel asked how his transition to the retired life felt. “I was going to ask you too, ‘What was the transition like?’ but I think I knew that the Steelers didn’t want me back.

“I had one more year, so I knew that was it. So I knew my time in Pittsburgh was up, [it] was just a matter of ‘Did I want to play somewhere else?’ and I couldn’t see myself in any other jersey. So I kinda knew going into last year –– most people don’t know this –– but I knew that it was it, because I knew, again, that the Steelers weren’t going to have me back again. So I knew that it was –– I was preparing for it, you know?”

That’s a beautiful sentiment from Roethlisberger. Steelers fans undoubtedly enjoy hearing No. 7 never considered throwing on another team’s colors.

That said, fans probably won’t enjoy this next statement from Roethlisberger quite as much…

“I think when most people ask, ‘What do you miss the most?’ they say they miss the locker room, right?” Roethlisberger began. “They miss the brotherhood in the locker room. And that’s one thing you’ll always miss, but I think I almost didn’t have that my last year anyway.”

Wait, Roethlisberger didn’t feel a brotherhood in the Steelers’ locker room?!

He can explain…

“Because I didn’t have Pounce [Maurkice Pouncey, retired after 2020 season], I didn’t have Dave [David DeCastro, released by Steelers in June 2021], all those guys were gone anyway,” Roethlisberger continued. “The offensive locker room was so different. I love making new friends. I love Pat [Freiermuth] and Diontae [Johnson] and Chase [Claypool]. I mean, there’s a lot of great guys –– Dan Moore –– some guys I really enjoyed getting to know. But the guys that you’ve played with for many years were all gone. And so that made it really hard.”

Despite this, Roethlisberger says some pieces still felt like the “good old days” to him. It just didn’t balance out the sense of change and turnover.

“There were obviously still some guys on defense, but not having those guys on offense kind of made it for me like, ‘OK, [I can retire in peace],'” Roethlisberger said. “The locker room was different anyway. I kinda knew it and had it [in my head], was mentally preparing myself that I knew it was it.

“It was tough, but now that I’m done, it’s –- I’m chasing kids around so much, you know, and doing all those things that I don’t miss [like] being beat up. That part? Oh, the not hurting is so amazing. That part of it I’m good with, so I’m in a very, very good place right now.”

Roethlisberger suited up for the final time in 2021, going 9-7 and leading the Steelers to the playoffs, where they lost to the Chiefs, 42-21, in the Wild Card round. During that season, Roethlisberger threw for 3,740 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.

Watch the full episode of Footbahlin’ with Ben Roethlisberger here: 


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