San Francisco, which had Super Bowl aspirations, endured season-ending injuries to quarterbacks Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo during the regular season. Those losses led the 49ers to think outside the box, including contacting Roethlisberger to gauge his interest in returning to the NFL.
Despite the allure of proving he could still compete at a high level after 18 pro seasons, his allegiance to the Steelers ultimately resulted in not pursuing the potential opportunity for a third Super Bowl ring.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say a small part of me wasn’t intrigued by the chance to prove I could still do it,” Roethlisberger said. “But at the end of the day, I just can’t see myself in anything other than black and gold.”
San Francisco eventually turned to rookie seventh-round pick Brock Purdy. The former Iowa State standout, who won his first seven career starts, led the team to the NFC championship game. However, Purdy suffered an elbow injury in the game, contributing to a 31-7 rout by Philadelphia.
Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl champion, compiled a 165-81-1 record while throwing for 64,088 yards, with 418 touchdown passes and 211 interceptions over the course of his career.
Fans of the Black and Gold, can sleep easy that Big Ben will never don another team’s jersey. Supporters of the Green Bay Packers will likely not have that luxury when Aaron Rodgers plays for another team in 2023.