Ben Roethlisberger: “I’d retire before I’d accept a trade”


Ben Roethlisberger would rather quit than switch teams. (Gene J. Puskar / AP)

Just as quickly as they surfaced Sunday, reports that the Pittsburgh Steelers would consider trading Ben Roethlisberger were shot down.

It turns out that Rooney family members aren’t the only ones who don’t want any part of it. Neither does the two-time Super Bowl winner.

“I’d retire before I’d accept a trade,” Roethlisberger said (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ron Cook). “I mean, it would have to be something really, really unbelievable for me to even consider it. I have talked to my wife about that. I don’t want to be anywhere else. This is where we want to be.

“This is where I want to raise my kids. I’m a Pittsburgher. I want to finish my career here, however long that is. I don’t want to play for anybody else. This is it for me. This is home.

“When I said I’ll never quit last week, I meant it. I’ll never quit on this season, this team or these fans. I’m going to stay on the ship. I don’t care if we never win another game, I want to stay on the ship.”

Both owner Dan Rooney and team president Art Rooney II told Roethlisberger they have no interest in trading him. And Roethlisberger sought them out when the report came out and told them:

“I’m so sorry,” Roethlisberger told the Rooneys, according to Cook. “This stuff didn’t come from me or my people. There’s absolutely no truth to it. It’s ridiculous. It’s one of the most BS stories that I’ve ever heard.”

There’s been buzz that Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley are a mismatch. The QB’s former OC, Bruce Arians, is head coach of the Arizona Cardinals and the Steelers, two NFL Network reporters said, might be ready to do the unthinkable, just as the Indianapolis Colts did when they moved from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck. Roethlisberger, 31 and in his 11th season, can’t be happy with a 3-6 team and his contract will be expensive. Here’s Cook’s take:

NFL insider Mike Silver reported Sunday on the same NFL Network show that Roethlisberger wants to finish his career with the Steelers but “keep an eye on the Arizona Cardinals. His former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, the coach there, they love him there. They would be highly motivated to try and go get him.”

Rapoport reported he was told by his source that the Steelers won’t trade Roethlisberger — “unless we could replace him with a franchise quarterback.”

It’s not every year that an Andrew Luck comes out of the NFL draft to replace a Peyton Manning. That’s more like once-a-generation thing. Franchise quarterbacks are that difficult to find.

The Steelers know it.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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Cindy Boren · November 12, 2013

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