Big Ben has been a quarterback that every player should respect no matter whether they played on his team or just against him.There has never been a quarterback harder to bring down. Largely because of his size and strength, but also because he was elusive and agile when moving around the pocket.
Big Ben is one of the most under-rated QBs ever. He carried the Steelers for many years, often while being battered behind sub-standard sumo-dominated o-lines. He regularly extended plays and had a strong and accurate arm. He was about winning and never cared about stats. He took the blame all the time when his team lost even though he was often blameless. And for his troubles he was disparaged and called names by players he helped turn into stars like Antonio Brown and Leveon Bell.
I hope the Steelers DWFs give Ben the sendoff he deserves on Monday night, but if the team is losing it won't be surprising if he's booed. They rarely appreciated his greatness and were always quick to scapegoat him for the team's deficiencies.
Big Ben is the last QB standing from the Class of 2004, which makes me sentimental as 2004 was the year this forum got off the ground. Other than Brady, Ben is the last NFL star still around from that era.
There's nothing really to add to your post as it was thorough and succinct about a fantastic career. It just seems to me that it is bittersweet because he was so great and yet there seems to be nothing he can do to get in the graces of some players merely because of his skin color. Ben always took the high road and had an amiable personality. For him to not be adored by the Pittsburgh fans as a whole is beyond insane. I've always respected the heck out of the guy and I don't see how his own fans could not stand behind him.