Ben Roethlisberger’s official retirement on Thursday closed the book on the quarterback class of 2004, as Big Ben was the last remaining of a trio of potentially Canton-bound signal-callers.
One of those is, of course, Eli Manning, and the Giants’ official Twitter account released a video Thursday afternoon showing Eli wishing Big Ben well:
“Hey Ben, just want to congratulate you on retirement pal. Eighteen years in one historic organization is a great path, so congratulations on that,” Eli said. “We've been tied together since our draft class in 2004. It's an honor to have shared that draft class with you. It's an honor to have competed against you. It's an honor to call you a friend now, man. All the best in retirement and enjoy."
Big Ben, the No. 11 pick in that 2004 Draft, won the 2004 AP Rookie of the Year Award over No. 1 pick Eli, and both went on to win two Super Bowls. Combined with Philip Rivers, the No. 4 pick in that Draft, the class collected 184,551 passing yards and 1,205 touchdowns spanning 51 seasons – 18 for Big Ben, 17 for Rivers (who retired after the 2020 season), and 16 for Eli, who called it quits following 2019.
The trio spent 50 of those 51 seasons with their original teams – assuming you don’t count Rivers and Manning being drafted and swapped by the Giants and Chargers as their “original” teams – with only Rivers spending one season in Indianapolis after 16 with the Chargers.
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