The end is near for two staples of the Steelers, and they seemed to know it after Sunday’s playoff loss to the Browns.
Ben Roethlisberger and his longtime center, Maurkice Pouncey, lingered on the bench during a teary scene in the aftermath of the loss.
“I’m sorry, brother. You’re the only reason I wanted to do this, man,” Roethlisberger told Pouncey, as captured by NFL Films. “Oh I feel worse for you than me. I hate it, man.”
Both the 38-year-old Roethlisberger and the 31-year-old Pouncey have a year left on their contracts, but with their futures in question, they may have just missed out on their best chance to make one last run at a Super Bowl
Pouncey, who was drafted by Pittsburgh shortly after Roethlisberger won his second of two Super Bowl rings, told former teammate Ramon Foster he is “50-50” on whether he will retire, Foster wrote for DK Pittsburgh Sports
. Pouncey started the game by hiking the ball well over Roethlisberger’s head. It was recovered by the Browns for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead after the first play.
Roethlisberger, meanwhile, said after the loss he still had a decision to make regarding his own future.
“It’s going to start between me and God,” Roethlisberger told reporters. “Lot of praying. And a lot of talking with my family. I still have a year left on my contract. I hope the Steelers want me back if that’s the way we go.”
The Steelers started the season 11-0 before falling apart late, finishing 12-4 and immediately bowing out of the playoffs against an AFC North rival.