The Pittsburgh Steelers are guaranteed a rematch in the divisional round of the playoffs, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a preference on whom he’d like to play.
“I’ll give you guys one guess who you think I want to play,” he said Tuesday in an interview with 93.7 The Fan.
Roethlisberger was referring to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team he threw a career-worst five interceptions, including two pick sixes, against in a 30-9 Week 5 loss.
“Obviously any game that we’re going to play — since it’s the postseason — is going to be a difficult opponent, but I think just for me personally I’d love to just prove that five interceptions wasn’t me in that game,” he said.
The Steelers would play the Jaguars if Jacksonville defeats the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card round. If Buffalo upsets the Jaguars, Pittsburgh would host either the Kansas City Chiefs or Tennessee Titans, two teams the Steelers defeated during the regular season.
Roethlisberger said Tuesday that the Steelers will spend a portion of each day this week preparing for each potential opponent.
Ben Roethlisberger has not been shy about his consideration of retirement at the end of the season. The quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers even thought about doing so after last season’s disappointing ending, but he came back for what might be one last rodeo, or could be just another season in his career. Nobody knows what Roethlisberger’s future is, so naturally, he is asked about it constantly.
Some players choose to announce their retirements ahead of time at the beginning of playoff runs in an effort to inspire their teammates. Ray Lewis is one prominent example, and it worked as his Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl in the 2012 season. Roethlisberger was asked about taking the same tactic on his radio show on 93.7 The Fan, and he refused to do it unless one other condition was met.
“If Pouncey says he’s retiring, then I’ll say that I’m retiring.”
In the past, Maurkice Pouncey has said that he will retire when Roethlisberger does. The two are close to inseparable, and both have spoken at length about the respect that they have for each other. Neither wants to learn how to play with another player at that position, so it makes sense that they would plan to go out together.
Pouncey is only 28 though, so if Roethlisberger retires at the end of this season, he would be foregoing quite a bit of his prime to leave with his quarterback. More and more players have retired at young ages in recent years, so he may very well go through with it. But the Steelers would love to have him to help break in whoever their next quarterback is.
Neither of their futures are certain, though. If the Steelers win the Super Bowl, there is a chance that both decide they are ready to hang up their cleats. If they don’t? Clearly, they both still have football left in them.