Big Ben leaving Steelers in good hands with Watt, Harris

Ben Roethlisberger clasped hands with his wife Ashley, surrounded himself with the couple’s three children and disappeared into the inner recesses of Heinz Field.

There’s still at least one game left in the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback’s career. And with a little luck, maybe a 12th visit to the playoffs.

Yet the outpouring of emotion in what became a three-plus-hour retirement party during a 26-14 victory over Cleveland on Monday night left very little doubt that this is the end for Roethlisberger.

The tears were real. The hugs and the chants and the tributes from the players he’s shared a locker room with through the years — some of them still early in their NFL journey, some of them long-since retired — too.

For nearly two decades Roethlisberger helped provide the Steelers (8-7-1) the kind of stability and success the vast majority of the league’s other 31 franchises have long craved but rarely — very rarely — enjoyed.

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