Past and Present Ravens Bid Farewell to Ben Roethlisberger With Lots of Respect and One 'I Hate You'

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, right, talks with Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed (20) after an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. The Ravens won 23-20.

Ben Roethlisberger has played against the Ravens 29 times over his 18 seasons. He was sacked 76 times, the most of any opponent by a wide margin.

Baltimore's defenders pounded Roethlisberger again and again. And yet he still holds an 18-11 record against them, including the playoffs where he won twice and lost once.

A war that lasted nearly two decades will reach an armistice Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in what's expected to be Roethlisberger's final game. Past and present Ravens shared memories and bid farewell to Baltimore's greatest enemy.

S Ed Reed

"The dude was just a competitor, one of those ultimate competitors. Big Ben always gave them a chance."

"Congrats on a great career and good luck after football. See ya in Canton."

LB Jarret Johnson

"What always stood out about Ben was how different he was from any other QB in the game. He was built like a pocket passer but played like a mobile QB. He could extend plays and seemed more accurate on the move. The more the play broke down, the better he was."

"Ben, you were the perfect opponent! Big, strong and tough. Built to play in the AFC North."

LB Adalius Thomas

"Playing against Ben was always a challenge. He was hard to sack because he's as big as a linebacker and tough. We tested his chin several times and he got up each time."

LB Bart Scott

"The greatest thing I could say about Ben Roethlisberger is that he played like a Raven. That's something rare to say about an opponent, but Ben Roethlisberger would have been a great Raven."

"He was a guy that was always a willing brawler – twisted noses, broken bones. He's the Michael Myers of football. It's almost hard for me to believe that this could be his last game because Michael Myers has always played that game. You thought you killed him, you think you knocked him out of the game; he may lay there, but he usually gets back up. If this is the last time Ben Roethlisberger gets back up, all I can say is job well done and respect."

"For me, [I'll always remember] all that he's taken from me. Twice in my career, he's prevented me from going to the Super Bowl. People always believe that when I left the Ravens and went to the AFC East it was the Patriots I hated. No, even as a Jet, he stopped me from going to the Super Bowl. I went to three AFC championships in a row and he stopped me from going to the Super Bowl in two of them – once as a Raven and once as a Jet. So I genuinely do hate him. But that's the greatest sign of respect. I only hate him because of how he played and what he took from me. Ben, I hate you. I'm glad you're done."

LB Ray Lewis (to Colin Cowherd in 2018)

"You're talking about a two-time Super Bowl champion. You're talking about one of the greatest warriors that's ever played this game."

"One thing about Ben is I don't care how many times you hit him, and I don't care how hard you hit him, he's going to come right back the next play and you're going to think he would never play again. … You would have the perfect blitz call. You would jump on his back, he would shake the guy off, and then he throw the ball down the field 30-40 yards. That's the one intangible that makes him so great. It's schoolyard football."

TE Todd Heap

"He played the role of the villain for the Ravens very well. Now that I'm more removed from it, I can appreciate what he's done and the way in which he did it. There haven't been a lot of quarterbacks like him that were that physical and made plays the way he did."

"I'm happy because he plays for the Steelers and it will hopefully give the Ravens an edge as he moves on. At the same time, I definitely would congratulate him and say job well done for how he played the game – especially doing it that long. It's been impressive to watch, albeit heartbreaking at times."

Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale

"We all know with Ben, I'm not sure it's going to be his final time. Who knows with Ben, because he's like 'The Terminator.' You think about in the history of this game, of this rivalry, how many times he's been hit, and you can picture him – his fans, his writers, his coaches. What they don't show is him getting up and playing the next play or playing the next series. That's why I said, I think he's like 'The Terminator.' It's unbelievable – his resiliency and his toughness. If there's a Ring of Fame for this game, he's definitely on it. It's a credit to him, with all the great players they've had there in the past, that he's going to be mentioned, probably, first or in that Top 5 of players that they've had there throughout all these years. So, he's a great competitor. [I've got] nothing but respect for him. Even this year, supposedly, his last year, they're No. 2 in the NFL in scoring points in the fourth quarter."

DL Calais Campbell

"He's just a competitor. When the game is on the line, I think that's when he's at his best. I've played against him quite a few times, and I feel like he's had a lot of up and down moments. We've had some games where we picked him off, I think, four times, and there's games where he lit us up. But I feel like no matter what, no matter what happened in the game, when the game was on the line, he was at his best. And, my first time going against him was the Super Bowl – we lost, and he won. That still breaks my heart every time I think about it. But you've got to give him his respect. He's a legend in the game. And I've always appreciated playing against true competitors – guys I respect and admire – and on the football field, he's one of the greatest to ever do it."

CB Jimmy Smith

"He's just kicked our butts numerous amounts of times, and we've had some good games against him. But one game that stands out the most for me was obviously when I got two picks, but one didn't count, (laughter) when Courtney [Upshaw] jumped offsides or whatever it was, and I had that taken back. But [it's a] great rivalry, [he's a] great competitor. [They're] never out of the game, [he was] always trying to make plays until the last second. But I guess that's something huge that I'll always remember about him – is just how tough of a competitor [he is]. And the game is never over with that guy, until the last, final whistle blows."

OLB Tyus Bowser

"I can go back to my very first game against the Steelers, my rookie year. That was the first time I got my sack against him, and that was a very memorable year, just with the fact of being on the same field as him. So, that's probably my most precious moment. But just any time you're out on the field against a guy like that, you appreciate it, because growing up, I had the chance to see him play, especially [in] this rivalry. It's just been an honor to be on the same field as him."

Related Content