Amid all the injuries at quarterback the 49ers suffered last season, it appears as if Ben Roethlisberger nearly came to the rescue… sort of.
The source of the report? Roethlisberger himself.
The Niners dealt with all kinds of injury attrition at quarterback last year, essentially losing four to season-ending injuries:
- Trey Lance — Broken ankle (Week 2)
- Jimmy Garoppolo — Broken foot (Week 15)
- Brock Purdy — UCL tear (NFC Championship game)
- Josh Johnson — Concussion (NFC Championship game)
Granted, the 41-year-old Roethlisberger wouldn’t have been able to help during San Francisco’s season finale, that playoff loss against the Philadelphia Eagles.
But, would Big Ben have helped out any for the 49ers earlier?
Ben Roethlisberger says 49ers contacted him about joining them in 2022
Speaking with Mark Madden on 105.9 The X (h/t Alan Saunders of SteelersNow.com), Roethlisberger said the Niners had contacted him about playing for them last year:
"They were, I think, reaching out maybe just to gauge my interest. 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."
Now, Roethlisberger didn’t make it clear exactly when San Francisco had reached out. But, it likely would have been after Garoppolo’s injury in a win over the Miami Dolphins.
That was a victory that showcased Purdy’s arrival, and the 49ers offense actually improved with the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft at the helm, scoring an average of eight more points per game than with Jimmy G under center.
Of course, Roethlisberger stayed retired, and the Niners rode Purdy’s momentum all the way into the NFC Championship game.
Would they have gotten further with Big Ben, though?
Would Ben Roethlisberger have helped 49ers last season?
For those who weren’t watching Roethlisberger’s final season in the NFL back in 2021, it might be a legitimate question.
And, in the context of San Francisco losing both Purdy and Johnson in the NFC Championship, perhaps Roethlisberger would have been a better option than the 49ers’ emergency quarterback, running back Christian McCaffrey.
During his final year, Roethlisberger was averaging a career-low 6.2 yards per pass attempt, and it was painfully obvious that his days as an effective quarterback were long over.
Despite what he said in the interview.
Either way, most Niners fans probably would respect his statement about wanting to play for nothing “other than black and gold.”
He probably wouldn’t have offered much of anything anyway.