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Big Ben says 49ers pursued him in 2022: I'm only black and gold

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Ben Roethlisberger had a chance to come out of retirement last year but ultimately decided there wasn't room for another NFL team on his resume.

The Pittsburgh Steelers legend recently told Mark Madden of 105.9 The X that the San Francisco 49ers pursued him during the 2022 season.

"I was really comfortable with my decision (to retire)," Roethlisberger said. "Last year, there was some truth to the Niners thing, just in a sense that they were reaching out just to, maybe, gauge my interest.

Roethlisberger added: "I had conversations with my agent, with my wife, my family. ... 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."

San Francisco battled injuries at quarterback during the regular season. Trey Lance began the campaign as the 49ers' QB1 but went down in Week 2 with a season-ending ankle injury. Backup Jimmy Garoppolo then fractured his foot in Week 13, leaving the team with seventh-round rookie Brock Purdy as the only option under center.

Roethlisberger, who hung up his cleats in January 2022, was rumored as a potential option, but it was never reported that the 49ers tried to talk him out of retirement.

The 41-year-old admitted he misses being out there on Sundays.

"The thing I miss most is probably the competitiveness," he said. "Being out there, the chance to have the ball in the fourth quarter, and going out there with my guys ... that embrace after a fourth-quarter win or in the locker room after you win a game is something you can never duplicate."

A first-round pick in 2004, Roethlisberger is the Steelers' all-time passing leader, having thrown for 64,088 yards and 418 touchdowns across 249 regular-season appearances from 2004-21. The six-time Pro Bowler also helped Pittsburgh win two Super Bowls.

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