Future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger likely played his last NFL game on Sunday night when the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs 42-21 in the first round of the playoffs.
While disappointed by his team's finish to the season, the Steelers quarterback said he is "excited" to begin a new "chapter" of life — one that is focused on expanding "God's kingdom."
What are the details?
During his postgame press conference, Roethlisberger, an outspoken Christian, reflected on the pain of losing while thanking God for the opportunity he has been given since being drafted by the storied franchise in 2004.
“It’s tough,” he told reporters after the loss. “But I’m proud to play with these guys. God has blessed me with [the] ability to throw a football and has blessed me to play in the greatest city, in Pittsburgh, with the greatest fans and the greatest football team and players. It’s just been truly a blessing and I’m so thankful to Him for the opportunity that He’s given me.”
Later, when asked about his plans now that his football days are over, Roethlisberger didn't hesitate to give an answer.
“I’m going to do everything I can to be the best husband and father I can be and try and expand God’s kingdom,” he said.
When a reporter followed up by asking if he is "excited" for the next phase of his life, Roethlisberger chuckled and responded, "I'm nervous."
"No, I am excited," he quickly added. "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."
Roethlisberger, who is widely expected to retire in the off-season, will end his career in the top 10 in most major statistical categories for quarterbacks.
During his 18 seasons as a Steeler, he led his team to 12 playoff appearances and two Super Bowls while amassing the fifth-most wins ever by a starting quarterback. He also was selected for six Pro Bowls.
According to Sports Spectrum, Roethlisberger has been more open about his Christian faith in recent years.
At the ManUp Conference in 2020, the NFL legend announced, “Three years ago I got baptized. 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 reportedly added.
The Christian sports outlet noted that following a season-ending elbow injury in 2019, Roethlisberger became a spiritual leader for his team, regularly sharing his testimony with teammates and other members of the Steelers organization.