Ben Roethlisberger says in his retirement video he’s retiring from football as a “truly grateful man.” For 18 seasons, Roethlisberger put his body on the line, and got up every time. It’s not hyperbolic to say he’s one of the most important Steelers ever, perhaps just behind Mean Joe Greene.
With that in mind, numerous teammates and rivals are pouring in with their tributes. The Steelers were a force with him under center, making the playoffs 12 times and playing in three Super Bowls. They were victorious in Super Bowls XL and XLIII.
Unsurprisingly, the Steelers immediately paid their respects on social media, releasing a five-and-a-half minute video compiling messages from some of Roethlisberger’s most notably running mates.
“Congratulations on a job well done. It was a pleasure and honor to take the field with you, to be a captain with ya, to go out and win some championships with ya,” said Brett Keisel. “Post-career is pretty cool. I’ll see ya there, pal.”
Alan Faneca offered his well-wishes, and promised to be there when Roethlisberger gets inducted into the Hall of Fame. “You should be so proud of everything you’ve been able to accomplish, everything you’ve been able to put together,” he said. “You went out there every Sunday, and gave greatness to the game of football. … You’ve earned a gold jacket.”
James Harrison, who’s maybe the most ferocious defender with whom Roethlisberger ever played, also told Ben he “looks forward to seeing you go into the Hall, baby.”
Several others, including Joe Haden and Mike Wallace, posted their own tributes on Twitter.
Bill Cowher weighed in with his own extended thoughts.
Steelers legend Rocky Bleier paid his respects as well. “Ben- There are not enough words in a tweet to do you justice. You gave of yourself over and over again for the love of the game, the love of Pittsburgh, and the love of this Steelers team. There will never be another like you and I am looking forward to your future,” he wrote.
While it’s great to hear from teammates and franchise legends, the greatest compliments can come from rivals. The Ravens, with whom Roethlisberger matched up for countless classics, said farewell to “an all-time great rival.”
Expect many more messages to surface as the day progresses. It’s not every day that a giant hangs them up.