Big Ben says MNF likely his last game at Heinz

  • Previously covered the Kansas City Chiefs for the Kansas City Star and Oklahoma University for the Oklahoman.

PITTSBURGH — Acknowledging that he doesn’t speak in “definites” or “guarantees,” Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Monday Night against the Cleveland Browns will likely be his final home regular-season game with the franchise.

“Looking at the bigger picture, I would say all signs are pointing to this could be it — regular season, that is,” Roethlisberger said Thursday. “I know we still have a chance to potentially get a playoff game there if things fall our way and we take care of business and things have to happen. In the grand scheme of things, in terms of regular seasons, signs are pointing that way that this could be it.”

Roethlisberger, who returned this year after reducing his pay in the offseason, has played his entire 18-year career with the Steelers after being drafted 11th overall in the 2004 class.

Roethlisberger previously hasn’t previously publicly acknowledged that the 2021 season would be his last, but it’s been expected in the organization for some time, and he began telling some in the organization and former teammates of his plans earlier this month, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

“It’s 18 years, almost half my life I’ve given to this city and this team and these fans,” the 39-year-old quarterback said. “But the fun thing is, I know I still have it in the tank to go out there this week and next week and give it everything I have to do everything I can to get us into the postseason. That’s always the ultimate goal, to win us a Lombardi. That’s still my goal. We’re not out of this thing yet.”

The stakes for what will likely be his last regular season home game are high. The Steelers are outside the playoffs with two weeks left. But beating the Browns — a division rival who ended their season a year ago in the first round of the playoffs — would keep the Steelers alive in the hunt for the postseason, while all but eliminating the Browns from contention.

“My focus is winning this game. If it is indeed my last regular season game here, it’s going to be one of most important games of my career. I’ve been so blessed to play in front of the best fans in all of sports, the best venue. What better way to have a last regular season potential game than Monday Night Football against a division opponent. It’s just special.”

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