Soon after New England defeated the Pittsburgh in the AFC title game in January, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger began to speculate about how much more football he had left in him.
Upon Pittsburgh opening up training camp on Thursday, the topic reared its head again. This time, Roethlisberger speculated that concussions and CTE specifically could be one reason why his time may be up soon.
Friday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette featured a story on Roethlisberger’s continued retirement chatter:
“It’s just, it’s 14 years; that’s a long time. I think the average life expectancy in the NFL is 3 years, maybe 3½ now.
“I’ve been blessed to do this a long time. I think it’s just seeing my kids growing up, and in the offseason I love getting to spend time with them, and then I come here and football season just has to take up so much of your time. Even when you get home, I try my best to turn it off when I walk in the front door. I think I do a pretty good job of that but it still consumes you in a way.
“Just all those things combined — being healthy, being able to play catch with my kids. I feel good mentally, I know this new study that came out that 90 percent [of NFL] players’ brains who were studied had CTE.
The aforementioned study Roethlisberger is referencing regards a story in Tuesday’s New York Times.
A neuropathologist studied the brains of former NFL players and discovered that 110 of 111 suffered from CTE – a degenerative condition caused by shots to the head.
Clearly, the two-time Super Bowl champion sees the light at the end of the tunnel. Yet, will he be thinking more about escaping and less about getting the Steelers back to the Super Bowl?
So far, this Steelers training camp has been a real doozy. Roethlisberger is talking retirement; players show up in odd vehicles; and Antonio Brown is presumably too bored to stay awake during meetings.
Obviously, the Steelers just want to hit the simulate offseason button and skip straight to the regular season.
And perhaps for Roethlisberger, a jump right to the finish line.