Ben Roethlisberger’s 18-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers could’ve been half of that number if a trade had gone through.
Former 49ers coach Mike Singletary revealed Pittsburgh and San Francisco had a deal in place that would have sent Roethlisberger to the Bay Area in 2009. However, he blocked the deal over concerns with Roethlisberger’s character and because of loyalty to Alex Smith.
“I had been telling the team I wanted a team of character,” Singletary told Dan Pompei of The Athletic. “I felt I had to be true to that. But if I could do it again, I’d do it differently.”
As you are well aware of, Big Ben had been accused of raping a woman in Nevada around the time the two sides were negotiating the trade. In 2010, a second woman accused the quarterback of rape. Roethlisberger was not criminally charged in either case, but he did settle a civil lawsuit with the first woman in 2012 and was suspended for the first six games of the 2010 NFL season for his conduct.
The second case did not have enough evidence to prosecute.
From a moral standpoint, Singletary made the right decision. From a football perspective, this could’ve changed everything for the 49ers who did not qualify for the playoffs in 2009 and 2010. Success on the field wouldn’t come until Harbaugh was hired and a guy named Colin Kaepernick started playing at QB for them.