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49ers tried to get Super Bowl champion quarterback out of retirement last season: report

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When the San Francisco 49ers found themselves in quarterback hell last season after Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo were lost for the year with injuries, there were some calls made outside the organization before Brock Purdy shocked the league with his high level of play. 

One of those calls went to someone who retired from the game one year ago. 

Pittsburgh Steelers legend Ben Roethlisberger told 105.9’s Mark Madden on “The X” that San Fran gave him a call to see if he was interested. 

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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looks to pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Baltimore.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looks to pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“There were some truths to the Niners thing,” Roethlisberger said. “They were, I think reaching out maybe just to gauge my interest. I had discussions. I don’t want to sit here and say I was going or anything like that. They called me to gauge interest…”

While Roethlisberger still loves football, he made the call not to put the pads back on. 

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was a small part of me that was intrigued,” he said. “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.”

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Roethlisberger came into the game a Steeler and left as one, playing 249 career games with Pittsburgh after he was taken 11th overall by them in the infamous 2004 NFL Draft. 

In those years, Roethlisberger was able to bring two Super Bowl championships to the Steel City in 2005 and 2008. 

 Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is congratulated by teammate Ben Roethlisberger #7 after scoring a touchdown in the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals during the game on December 4, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

 Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is congratulated by teammate Ben Roethlisberger #7 after scoring a touchdown in the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals during the game on December 4, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

But Roethlisberger admitted the 49ers had the roster to win the Super Bowl this year, saying “they had a great chance.” 

Ultimately, it was the quarterback position that buried the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, after Purdy went down with an elbow injury that was later diagnosed as a torn UCL during the game. They went with Josh Johnson, his backup, but he left the game with a concussion. 

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That forced Purdy back in, unable to throw, and the Eagles were all over the run game. Head coach Kyle Shanahan tried to get creative with short passes and fancy run plays, but Philadelphia was ready. 

This season, the 49ers are expected to have an open competition with the three quarterbacks on their roster: Lance, Purdy and newcomer Sam Darnold. While Purdy did well in his time in the second half last season, Lance won the job outright from training camp. Darnold is more experience than both of them, so it will be an intriguing competition to watch. 

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) waves to fans before he leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers won 26-14.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) waves to fans before he leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers won 26-14. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

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And it appears Roethlisberger will continue to watch from home as well. 

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