Did Big Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers have a bad breakup?

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in a Q&A with readers, writer Gerry Dulac was asked if there was “bad blood” between the Steelers and Big Ben.

“I would say it’s very very safe to assume that,” Dulac said.

But why?

Roethlisberger announced his retirement in January after spending his entire 18 season NFL career as a Steeler. His exit included an emotional video tribute to the team, which he called “home.”

On the surface, it didn’t seem as though there was visible tension between the Roethlisberger and the Steelers. Yet, there was loud chatter in the final year of his career that the 39-year-old quarterback was a detriment to the team’s success.

Roethlisberger’s final season ended in a 42–21 loss to the Chiefs in the AFC wild-card round of the playoffs. His 18th NFL campaign included 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 16 regular season games.

Ben Roethlisberger warms up with the Steelers before their Wild Card loss to the Chiefs
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin

After Roethlisberger and the Steelers won the AFC North in 2020, he returned for a final season on a restructured contract.

The veteran quarterback could have possibly taken his talents to another team this coming season, or possibly worked out a deal with Pittsburgh to return, but instead called it a career. He leaves behind a legacy that includes 18 winning seasons, two Super Bowl championships, 12 postseason berths and eight division titles.

In preparation of a post-Roethlisberger era, the Steelers signed quarterback Mitch Trubisky in March, who backed up Josh Allen with the Bills last season following a tumultuous run as Bears quarterback. The Steelers also drafted former Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.