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'I retire from football a truly grateful man.' Ben Roethlisberger retires after 18 years with Steelers

The Steelers never had a losing season with Roethlisberger, who has been their starting quarterback since 2004 and led them to two Super Bowl wins.

PITTSBURGH — Number 7 is officially hanging them up. 

After 18 years in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger officially announced his retirement on Thursday morning.

Roethlisberger was expected to retire at the end of the season. He played his last home game at Heinz Field in Week 17 when the Steelers defeated the Browns to keep their playoff hopes alive before Roethlisberger emotionally left the field.

The Steelers were able to beat the Ravens in Week 18 to make it to the playoffs with Roethlisberger one last time, before falling to the Chiefs in the Wild Card round.

The Steelers drafted Roethlisberger in the first round out of Miami (Ohio) in 2004. He's been their starting quarterback ever since, leading them to the playoffs 12 times, and helping them win two Super Bowls (2006, 2010).

"The journey has been exhilarating, fueled by a spirit of competition," Roethlisberger said in a video posted to his Twitter account. "Yet the time has come to clean out my locker, hang up my cleats and continue to be all I can be to my wife and children. I retire from football a truly grateful man."

Roethlisberger is a six-time Pro Bowler and won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2004. The Steelers never had a losing season under Roethlisberger. They went 165-81-1 in his starts.

For his career, he completed 64.4 percent of his passes, is ranked fifth all time in passing yards (64,088) and completions (5,440) and eighth in touchdowns (418).

Surely, Roethlisberger will be a Pro Football Hall of Fame member soon.

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