Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made headlines in the offseason when he said he was mulling over retirement. While he ultimately decided to keep playing, he hasn’t forgotten about it. And one hit in the game against the Cincinnati Bengals got him thinking about it all over again.
It was the injury to linebacker Ryan Shazier. It looked like a normal attempt at a tackle, but Shazier instantly fell to the ground and had to be taken to a hospital, unable to feel his legs. Though he has had some movement since and it may not be as dire as it first looked, they didn’t know that at the time.
“People get all over me for saying you have to contemplate every year on if you want to keep going,” Roethlisberger said, per Jerry DiPaola of Trib Live. “Plays like this make you really evaluate things.
“That’s why I say it’s a smart thing to do. It’s a violent game. And this game [against the Bengals] always seems to be that way. It’s crazy this sport we play.
“When we talked in the offseason about evaluating and making sure, these are the reasons. Having kids, I hope my son plays golf. If he wants to play football, that’s fine, too. But it’s a tough sport. It’s not for everyone. If he wants to do it, I’ll encourage it. If he doesn’t, I’m just fine with that as well.”
Roethlisberger added that it was tough to get back into the football mindset after Shazier was carted off, but he had to do it.
“When you’re out there, you’re worried about him and his health, but you also understand that you have to continue to play a football game and you have to give your focus to that,” he said, “because if you’re not focused and in tune to what’s going on out there, you can get hurt as well.”
Finally, he said he thinks the NFL likes the games between the Steelers and the Bengals because they’re physical, even though the league hands out suspensions for some of the hits.
“I think the NFL, sometimes, they’ll take any publicity they can get, good or bad,” he said. “They put it in prime time knowing that it’s a physical game. Some people tune in just to see the physicality of the game, the hits, what’s going to happen. I think as soon as Shazier goes down with that injury, a lot of people’s tunes changed. I got a lot of texts, people were disturbed, just sick to their stomach the whole game.”
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