One of the biggest questions heading into the 2021 NFL season is will this be Ben Roethlisberger's last year with the Pittsburgh Steelers? The answer is no one knows just yet because I believe his decision will be based on how the 2021 season plays out. If Ben Roethlisberger can still play at a high level and stay healthy in 2021 I believe Ben Roethlisberger could be back in 2022. Many feel this season could be it for Ben Roethlisberger and one of those people who feel Ben is done after this season is Hall of Fame Coach Bill Cowher.
Phillip Rivers's retirement after the 2020 season reminded everyone that Ben Roethlisberger's clock is ticking as he is the only one left standing from the 2004 NFL draft. Eli Manning is also gone from the NFL and no matter how much you think you have left in the tank father time is always undefeated. It pains me to know that the end of the road is near for Ben Roethlisberger and it has been a great ride with a Hall of Fame quarterback, but could this really be it for Big Ben?
If Ben Roethlisberger decides to ride off into the sunset after the 2021 season that will leave a big hole in the quarterback position going forward. Although the Steelers will have Mason Rudolph on the roster for one more year... Will he be the next starter in line to replace Ben Roethlisberger? There are so many questions that need to be answered, but I think we should hold out hope that Ben Roethlisberger will show up this season especially with having a running game finally.
Bob Labriola recently wrote his Asked and Answered column for June 15th and he doesn't know why some of the media have discounted Rudolph as a viable option to be a starting quarterback for the Steelers. He believes comparing Ben Roethlisberger starting 13-0 as a rookie in Pittsburgh makes Rudolph suffer in comparison.
There is no denying Mason Rudolph has developed in the Pittsburgh Steelers system, but it seems his pocket awareness is still the same when he is pressured. There is no denying that Rudolph panics when the pocket collapses on him, but he does have a strong arm and can sling the rock down the field with ease if he is given the opportunity to do so. Labriola feels Rudolph's future with the Pittsburgh Steelers is not Pre-Determined yet. It seems he still needs to continue to show he is a capable starting NFL quarterback.
It is unclear if Rudolph will be a career backup quarterback or if he will be a starter in the NFL. One thing is clear that Bob Labriola feels Mason Rudolph will eventually get his opportunity to prove himself as a starter. He did not say if he thinks it will be with the Pittsburgh Steelers just like Art Rooney II has left out when speaking in regards to Rudolph. It seems the Steelers brass feels Rudolph is capable to be an NFL starter, but they fall short of saying if it is with the Pittsburgh Steelers...