Big Ben reveals 49ers reached out to him after QB injuries originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
How would Ben Roethlisberger look in the Red and Gold? It turns out the 49ers Faithful almost found out last season.
The former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback revealed Tuesday that, amid a slew of QB injuries in 2022, the 49ers reached out to him as he enjoyed his NFL retirement.
“They were, I think, reaching out maybe just to gauge my interest,” Roethlisberger told 105.9 The X's Mark Madden, (h/t SteelersNow.com). “I had discussions. ... I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was a small part of me that was intrigued. I could still do it and prove to people that I could still play. At the end of the day, I just can’t see myself in anything other than black and gold.”
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The 49ers were in a seemingly desperate place last season after injuries took out back-to-back starters, Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, with unproven rookie Brock Purdy waiting in the wings. But Mr. Irrelevant took over the starting-quarterback role without a hitch, leading San Francisco to its second straight NFC Championship Game at just 23 years old.
And instead of bringing in Roethlisberger, with the 41-year-old apparently turning down the opportunity to pull a Tom Brady and un-retire, the 49ers signed veteran journeyman Josh Johnson to fill out their depth chart at the position.
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They perhaps could have brought in Philip Rivers, too, as the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback reportedly reached out to the 49ers in 2022 to see if he could be of service, considering their injury-ridden quarterbacks room. For whatever reason, that didn't happen.
Roethlisberger, however, was one of the most prolific passers in NFL history, racking up 64,088 passing yards in 18 seasons with the Steelers -- good enough for fifth on the all-time leaderboard. He does hold the record for most passing yards by a quarterback who only played with one team, followed by Dan Marino (61,361).
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A veteran of Roethlisberger's caliber might have helped the 49ers last season, especially if he were waiting on the sideline during the NFC Championship when Purdy went down with an injured elbow.
But in the end, Big Ben decided his cleats would remain stowed away.
“I love waking up in the morning and not having issues with my knees and shoulders and elbows,” Roethlisberger said.