Ben Roethlisberger says 49ers reached out last season

Retired and Canton-bound quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Tuesday that the San Francisco 49ers reached out to him last season to “gauge” his interest in returning to the field.

Roethlisberger, 41, made the comments during an interview on 105.9 The X in Pittsburgh.

The 49ers were riddled with injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo before riding Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy to the NFC Championship Game, where he, too, was injured.

“They were, I think, reaching out maybe just to gauge my interest,” Roethlisberger told the station. “I had discussions. … 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.”

The Niners turned to journeyman Josh Johnson to back up Purdy. Johnson was also injured in the conference title game against Philadelphia.

Roethlisberger retired after the 2021 season as the NFL record-holder for passing yards (64,088) by a QB with just one team. He led the Steelers to two Super Bowl titles (2005, 2008) and was a six-time Pro Bowl pick.