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Ben agrees to re-structure, returns for 2021

One of the hottest topics of the offseason was the future of Ben Roethlisberger, and it was a critical piece of the puzzle when the Steelers set out to build their roster in preparation for the 2021 NFL season.

The saga began on Jan. 28 when Steelers President Art Rooney II said, “Ben wants to come back. We’ve left that door open. We’ve been, I think, up front with Ben in letting him know that we couldn’t have him back under the current contract, and so I think he understands we have some work to do there.”

Then on Feb. 17, General Manager Kevin Colbert said, “As we sit here today, Ben is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He met with Art Rooney II, he met with Coach (Mike) Tomlin, he met with me shortly after the season ended. He reiterated to us that he wants to continue to play, and we told him quite frankly we have to look at this current situation.”

But throughout the process, Colbert had no doubt about Roethlisberger’s ability to get the job done.

“Going back to Ben’s 2020 season, he really did do some special things,” said Colbert. “In the beginning of the year, we talked about watching what he was doing because he was doing some incredible things as we were building that 11-0 record. A lot of that was him performing at crucial times in games. Down the stretch, we didn’t play as good around him … Can he still do some special things? Absolutely.” Things were finalized to both sides’ satisfaction on March 4.

“We are excited we were able to come to an agreement with Ben Roethlisberger on a new contract for him to return to the Steelers in 2021,” said Colbert that day. “We know that Ben can still play at a high level and do special things for this team. Our goal remains the same – to put together a roster that will compete for another championship. We are happy that Ben will be one of our leaders to help us accomplish that goal.”

Roethlisberger, who has played in a Steelers record 233 games and started a record 231, came back strong in 2020 after missing the majority of the 2019 season with an elbow injury.

“It is my greatest honor to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and give my all for this organization,” said Roethlisberger, who will be entering his 18th season with the team. “I am grateful to be at this stage of my career and more than happy to adjust my contract in a way that best helps the team to address other players who are so vital to our success. I love this game and love to compete, and I believe in this team and my ability to deliver when called upon. It all starts with great preparation and I am ready to go.”

He completed 399 of 608 passes in 2020, tied for the second-most pass attempts in his career, for 3,803 yards, 33 touchdowns, second-most in his career, 10 interceptions and a career-low 13 sacks (not counting 2019 when he played in only two games).

For his career, Roethlisberger has completed 5,050 of 7,838 passes (64.4%) for 60,348 yards (seventh most in NFL history), 396 touchdowns and a 94.0 quarterback rating. In 14 of his 17 seasons he has thrown for at least 3,000 yards, including doing it 13 straight seasons from 2006- 18, interrupted only by his injury in 2019 that forced him to miss the majority of the season. He also threw for at least 3,500 yards in six consecutive seasons, the longest streak in team history.

The Steelers records he holds are numerous and include the following career records: passing TDs (396), passing TDs of at least 60 yards (22), passing yards (60,348), passer rating (94.0), completions (5,050), pass attempts (7,838), completion percentage (64.4), yards per attempt (7.7), 300-yard passing games (66) and 3,000-yard passing seasons (14).

With Roethlisberger at quarterback, the Steelers have 11 postseason berths, won eight AFC North Championships, appeared in five AFC Championship games and three Super Bowls, winning two of them. Roethlisberger, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, became the youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl when the team won Super Bowl XL, when he was 23, and the second-youngest quarterback ever to win a second Super Bowl when the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII.

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