It’s one thing for armchair quarterbacks to observe that Ben Roethlisberger is over the hill. It’s another for his former teammates to say it publicly.
Ryan Clark and Ryan Shazier, who combined to play 12 seasons with Big Ben, both did not mince words this week in saying it’s time for him to hang it up.
Ryan Shazier played linebacker for the Steelers from 2014-2017, before having to retire due to a career-ending spinal injury.
“Sometimes the game will tell you when it’s time,” Shazier said earlier this week on “Tiki & Tierney.” “And I love Ben, but I think next year may be time for him to step away from the game.”
Roethlisberger, 39, a likely Hall-of-Famer with two Super Bowl titles, is having a season to forget.
He ranks 21st amongst NFL quarterbacks in QB rating, 24th in Total QBR and 26th in yards per attempt this season. The Steelers are 0-2-1 in the past three weeks, and are currently in last place in the AFC North at 5-5-1. Last week, they were drubbed by the Bengals 41-10 in a wire-to-wire butt-whipping.
“Ben has been known for being those types of quarterbacks who is really tough to bring down, extend the plays, allow his team to make big plays because of how much of an athlete he was,” Shazier said. “He knew how to change the game. And I feel he’s losing a lot of that.”
Ryan Clark, who played defensive back for the Steelers from 2006-2013, appeared on ESPN’s “Get Up” Friday morning and expressed similar sentiments to Shazier.
“I owe my Super Bowl ring to Ben Roethlisberger With all that being said, time is up. It’s time to move on,” Clark said. “Big Ben is hurting this team now. Big Ben is not allowing the other pieces around him to progress, to learn, to grow.”
Clark said that if backup QBs Dwayne Haskins and Mason Rudolph do not give the Steelers a better chance to win than Roethlisberger right now, it’s the franchise’s fault for not starting the season with a better quarterback room.
“Big Ben can’t take you to a Super Bowl,” Clark said. “Big Ben can’t help this team be better. Big Ben can no longer help the people around him grow. It’s time for Big Ben to take a seat.”