Ben Roethlisberger reportedly considered retirement before deciding to return for his 14th season behind center for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
For strictly football purposes, this makes sense because Pittsburgh has taken measures to improve its offensive line and has two of the NFL's most explosive weapons in running back Le?Veon Bell and receiver Antonio Brown.
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Nicknamed "Backyard Ben" for his notorious ability to keep plays alive -- and the accompanying beating that comes with it -- Roethlisberger has had a slew of injuries over his career but he?s also fought through them.
The 35-year-old has started at least 11 games in every season, and was behind center for 14 of Pittsburgh?s 16 games last year. Even so, he has started all 16 games just three times in 13 seasons.
He suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee last season that was projected to keep him out more than a month. Instead, he missed just one game. He also sat out the season-finale after the Steelers had already wrapped up the AFC North.
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Roethlisberger's protection showed noticeable improvement, as he was sacked just 17 times in 2016. In the previous five seasons, he averaged 33 sacks per year.
The quarterback completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 3,819 yards and 29 touchdowns against 13 interceptions.
He should put up more monster numbers if he manages to stay on the field, and Bookmaker.eu is offering a proposition wager on Roethlisberger?s durability:
How many starts will Ben Roethlisberger make for the Pittsburgh Steelers during 2017-18 NFL regular season?
Over 14.5 (+110, bet $100 to win $110)
Under 14.5 (-140, bet $140 to win $100)
Pick: Roethlisberger has started 15 games or more three times this decade, but has failed to do so each of the past two seasons.
The Under is shaded as the favorite here for logical reasons. Given Big Ben's reckless abandon, he is more susceptible to injury than most NFL quarterbacks.
Moreover, the Steelers are hefty favorites to repeat as division champion, and it's possible Roethlisberger could again be held out for one or more games if they have the AFC North clinched before the regular season ends.
Under is the pick.