One football Hall of Famer thinks that a future inductee into Canton will leave before the end of the 2019 season if his team plays a few more games like they did in Week One. The Hall of Famer is Deion Sanders, and the future Hall of Famer he is talking about is Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Speaking shortly after the New England Patriots defeated a lackluster Pittsburgh Steelers team 33-3 on Sunday night, Deion Sanders took to the NFL Network show NFL Game Day and made a bold prediction: “We’ve all heard the murmurs of Big Ben saying he would like to retire. The way (Pittsburgh) played (Sunday), a couple more of those games, I think that would happen.”
Sanders observed during the lopsided game on Sunday night: “I think mentally, physically, something’s gonna shut down, because what I saw today was a lackluster effort by the offense, by the defense, and by the coaching staff, by everyone. Roethlisberger seemed not engaged. There was no big-play ability, no running game, nothing ever got going defensively. (Roethlisberger) seemed disinterested.”
— NFL GameDay (@NFLGameDay) September 9, 2019
Of course, what Sanders forgot to mention was the fact that the Steelers are now playing without Antonio Brown, one of the best wide receivers in the league as well as Le’Veon Bell, one the league’s best running back.
While true there has been talk in recent years of Big Ben packing it in and retiring, one would think that training in the offseason and going through training camp is not something that someone with one foot out of the league would do if retirement was really still on their mind. Also, Roethlisberger would likely understand the damage to his legacy that would result from him walking away from the Steelers and the NFL in the middle of a season because of anything not injury related.
It is easy for any player in any sport to look disinterested when he or his team are being dominated and both sides are waiting for the game to end. Perhaps Roethlisberger knew the game plan against the Patriots was bad and checked out earlier than normally, or the future Hall of Fame quarterback knew that on Sunday night, New England just had Pittsburgh’s number and they weren’t going to win no matter what. Either way, to say after one game that any player was already disinterested in playing the entire season is one of those overreaction statements that often comes after Week One in the National Football League, and will be one that Deion Sanders will likely be proven wrong for making at the end of the 2019 season.