The Pittsburgh Steelers saw their 2020 season come to a crushing close after the wildcard round loss to the Cleveland Browns. The talk of the town centers around a private conversation on the bench that Ben Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncey had after the game. Now there looks to be clarity on what Roethlisberger said that made his teammate shed some tears.
Steelers’ disappointing end to 2020 season
The Pittsburgh Steelers saw their 2020 campaign come to a discouraging close in the wildcard round loss to the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns quickly grabbed a 28-0 lead in the first quarter of the contest. Cleveland eased through the rest of the game with a comfortable margin. The Steeler cut into the lead to 35-23 midway through the third quarter, but it proved to be too insurmountable.
Star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 501 passing yards but committed four interceptions that kept Pittsburgh out of reach. The loss further underlined the team’s struggles after getting off to a promising 11-0 start to begin the 2020 campaign.
After that point, the wheels began to come off the wagon, dropping five out of their last six games. Over the last several weeks, the Steelers looked like the shadow of the team that previously held the best record in the league.
Following the game, the attention shifted over to Roethlisberger’s future with the franchise as he nears the end of his current contract. After the wildcard loss, the 38-year-old was seen crying on the sidelines alongside longtime center Maurkice Pouncey. Now there is finally some clarity as to why the two shed tears at that moment.
Ben Roethlisberger’s message to Maurkice Pouncey that made him cry
After the Steelers’ crushing loss to the Browns, the cameras panned over to Ben Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncey, sharing a sentimental moment on the bench.
The immediate reaction saw many speculate regarding their respective long-term futures with Pittsburgh. There is now some clarity as to what was said in that instance between them. Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” recently posted a video from that situation that showed Roethlisberger emotionally apologizing to his teammate.
“You’re the only reason I wanted to do this, man.” Roethlisberger said to Pouncey.
There has remained plenty of discussion around Roethlisberger’s long-term future as he nears closer to his 40s. He has hinted at possibly stepping away on a few instances the last couple of years.
The raw emotion from Roethlisberger demonstrated his strong bond with Pouncey that they have cultivated over the last several seasons. The friendship between them goes much further than any football field. That alone was quite evident with Roethlisberger telling Pouncey that he was the only reason he returned for another year.
It’s a tough way to end another campaign, but it’s hard not to look ahead toward the franchise’s possible uncertain future beyond the 2020 season.
Uncertain future ahead in Pittsburgh
Although the Steelers are still disappointed about their early playoff exit, the franchise must shift their attention ahead.
Pittsburgh has some significant questions to answer around the status of their roster. Ben Roethlisberger is entering into the final year of his deal for the 2021 campaign with roughly a $41 million dead cap hit.
Meanwhile, Steelers reporter Dale Lolley is reporting that Maurkice Pouncey is planning to retire despite having a $6.4 million contract for next season. The team also has star wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster set to hit free agency. At this point, there isn’t any clarity if the team will make a strong push to retain him or roll with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool as their primary receiving options.
The coming months will reveal much about the direction of the franchise moving forward.