While Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has still yet to make a decision on his future, one of his former teammates says it is time to hang up is cleats.
Joining TMZ Sports on Sunday, former Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor said it is time for Roethlisberger to retire, or he risks becoming a detriment to the organization moving forward.
While he admits Roethlisberger’s résumé has earned him the right to give it another go, Taylor believes a comeback is only delaying the inevitable and setting the franchise back, as the division around them continues to improve.
“You’re setting them back a year or two or three (with a comeback),” Taylor said. “The reason why I think you’re setting them back is because you’ve seen the progression in Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow — before he got hurt — and Baker Mayfield.”
Roethlisberger will be a 39-year-old when the 2021 season kicks off, clearly the elder statesman in a young man’s division.
“So, we’re talking about three young quarterbacks in one division,” Taylor said. “Who you going to pick last?”
For Taylor, the best option is for Roethlisberger to retire this offseason, allowing Pittsburgh to find a younger, temporary quarterback to compete in the present in the AFC North, while still looking towards the future.
“Ain’t nothing wrong with shutting that thing down,” Taylor said. “It’s hard for a lot of people to shut it down. It’s hard.”
Still, Taylor had praise for his former teammate, and admitted the Steelers should bring him back on a significantly discounted contract if possible.
Roethlisberger has not officially announced a return for the 2021 season, but did express his willingness to restructure his expensive contract for a potential comeback.
The two-time Super Bowl champion was inconsistent last season. Roethlisberger had a fine season statistically, passing for 3,803 yards and 33 touchdowns with ten interceptions, but saw his play drop over the latter half of the year.
Roethlisberger will count over $41 million towards the Steelers’ 2021 salary cap obligations, with the club projected to be well over the cap this offseason. He could forgo up to $19 million of his salary for this upcoming season to provide the team some much needed flexibility.