(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Stephen A. Smith is relieved that Ben Roethlisberger's 18-year career is over. While Smith appreciates all that Roethlisberger did for the Steelers, he believes Roethlisberger stuck around for two more years than he should have.
"Thank God, he's retired," Smith said on Thursday. "Ben Roethlisberger deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Three Super Bowl appearances, two-time Super Bowl champion. My gratitude for the tremendous job he did for the Steelers over the years. I can't say enough about how I feel about the man. I love Ben Roethlisberger ... He should have retired two years ago."
Coming off season-ending elbow surgery in 2019, Roethlisberger still had his usual arm strength, but his accuracy was noticeably off. Likewise for his lack of mobility in 2020 and 2021.
"He couldn't move and then he hurt his elbow, and I get all of that," Smith said. "And so, because you're immobile and your arm was compromised because of the hurt elbow and what have you. The combination of all of those things, unfortunately, made you a liability. And the only reason why we didn't say he was a liability was because they didn't get a successor."
Smith placed the blame on Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert for not getting a successor for Roethlisberger and felt that the Steelers were stuck with Roethlisberger because the alternative was a Mason Rudolph or a Dwayne Haskins.
Smith also said that the saddest thing to see in a great athlete is someone who sticks around too long. Smith acknowledged that Roethlisberger still had great moments in his final season, but overall he was a shell of his former self.
"In the end, Ben Roethlisberger has pretty much not been Ben Roethlisberger for the last couple of years, so thank God it's over," Smith said.