Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger Credits 'Faith' for Helping with Addiction: 'Athletes, We're Human'
The 38-year-old quarterback says his Christian faith has given him renewed motivation during this chapter of his life
Ben Roethlisberger said his Christian faith has been at the foundation of his recovery from addiction and his renewed sense of motivation heading into the 2020 NFL season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback recently opened up about his addictions to pornography and alcohol, which he said became problems after he reached success in the NFL.
"It's not always easy," Roethlisberger said at the ManUp Pittsburgh event on Sunday, according to ESPN. "People don't realize all the time that us athletes, we're human. We sin like everybody else. I am no different. We make mistakes. We get addicted to things. We sin. We're human."
"I think sometimes we get put on this pedestal where we can't make mistakes. I've fallen as short as anybody," he continued. "I've been addicted to alcohol. I've been addicted to pornography, which makes me then not the best husband, not the best father, not the best Christian I can be."
The 38-year-old — who was sidelined for much of last season due to an injury — was previously investigated for sexual assault in both 2009 and 2010 but prosecutors declined to file charges, according to CNN.
Roethlisberger said being baptized for a second time three years ago helped him turn over a new leaf and strengthen his faith.
"Now more than ever, it's cool to be a Christian, especially professional athletes," Roethlisberger said. "One of the things I want to tell guys and tell people out there, I can be a really good athlete and a Christian. It's not one or the other. I can do both. I want it to be known to all of the young men out there, it's cool to be Christian and be an athlete."
"Go ahead and be the best athlete you can be and see if you can be a better Christian," he added, ESPN reported. "And that's what I'm trying to do now. I'm trying to be a better Christian than I am [an] athlete and football player. I push myself every day to do that, and it starts here. It's not always easy."
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The former Super Bowl Champion said he was glad his injury last year happened in his current state of mind. It's something he doesn't think his younger self would have been able to cope with.
"I'm so thankful that this injury happened during my walk that I'm in now," Roethlisberger said. "I don't know that I would've been able to handle it a few years ago, five, six, seven, 10 years ago."
"I know that my faith wouldn't have been as strong," he added. "Now that I know what it's about, it's easy to say, 'Hey, God, this is in your hands. I'm going to go train my butt off to get back out there, and whatever you have for me, I'm ready.'"