Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger officially retires with message to fans

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has officially retired after posting a message on Twitter to the Steeler Nation.

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The 39-year-old QB announced Thursday that he is retiring from the NFL after 18 years wearing the Black and Gold.

Roethlisberger played his last game at Heinz Field against the Cleveland Browns, winning 26-14. His last regular-season game was against rival Baltimore Ravens, beating them in week 18 on the road, 16-13. His final appearance was in the wild card loss against the Kansas City Chiefs 42-21.

The Steelers drafted Roethlisberger in 2004 after he played college football at Miami University in Ohio. He started with the organization as third in the depth chart behind then-starting quarterback Tommy Maddox. When first backup Charlie Batch was injured, Roethlisberger moved up. When Maddox was also injured, “Big Ben” became the starter and took the Steelers to the AFC Championship Game that season, WPXI reported.

In Roethlisberger’s second season, he led the Steelers to his first of two Super Bowl wins.

He was named NFL Rookie of the Year, was the NFL passing yards leader twice and was voted to the Pro Bowl six times.

Visit the NFL for a complete rundown of Roethlisberger’s career stats.

While he was a star on the field, incidents off the field clouded a portion of his long career.

He had a motorcycle accident in Pittsburgh in June 2006. He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and did not have a motorcycle license, only an expired temporary permit. Roethlisberger was hurt, going over the handlebars and shattering a windshield with his head. He had to undergo seven hours of surgery but recovered before the season started that year, WPXI reported.

In July 2009, Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault by an executive casino host at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. He was accused of grabbing a woman and kissing her. The lawsuit was settled the next year.

He also was accused of sexual assault following an alleged incident in March 2010 when a female college student said he assaulted her in a nightclub bathroom in Milledgeville, Georgia. The district attorney there said that Roethlisberger would not face charges, and the accuser later dropped her complaint. He did have a six-game suspension following the investigation, which was later reduced to four games, WPXI reported.