Steelers reeling as Roethlisberger ruled out for season

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was ruled out for the rest of the NFL season on Monday, a day after suffering an elbow injury in his team's loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

The 37-year-old two-time Super Bowl champion was injured in the first half of the Steelers' home loss to Seattle, clutching his right elbow after unleashing a pass.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Roethlisberger had undergone an MRI scan on Sunday which determined that surgery was required.

"We expect the surgery will be scheduled for this week," Tomlin said in a statement.

"He will be placed on our Reserve/Injured List and is out for the season."

The loss of Roethlisberger is a devastating blow for the Steelers, who are winless after two games and are also adjusting to the departure of star receiver Antonio Brown at the end of last season.

Roethlisberger was replaced by understudy Mason Rudolph on Sunday. Rudolph, chosen by the Steelers in the third round of the 2018 Draft, will take over for the remainder of the season.

Roethlisberger's injury will fuel speculation that the NFL may have seen the last of the towering gunslinger who has been one of the NFL's elite quarterbacks since winning 13 games in his rookie season in 2004.

Roethlisberger, who led the Steelers to Super Bowl wins in 2006 and 2009, revealed in 2017 he was contemplating retirement, only to eventually decide to extend his career the following season.

"I'm going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options," Roethlisberger said at the time. "To consider health, and family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season, if there's going to be a next season."

Only last week, however, Hall of Fame receiver Deion Sanders predicted Roethlisberger would retire before the end of the 2019 season following the team's opening day drubbing by the New England Patriots.

"I'm going to go on record to say, I don?t think Big Ben will finish the season," Sanders said on the NFL Network.

"I think mentally, physically, something's going to shut down," he added.