Ben Roethlisbergershould call it a career ... so says his former teammate Ike Taylor, who tells TMZ Sports the QB NOT retiring this offseason could hurt the team for years down the road.
Ike kept it real with us when breaking down Ben's future ... saying while the 38-year-old has more than earned the right to play in Pittsburgh next season, he's not sure if it's the greatest move for the franchise.
"You're setting them back a year or two or three [with a comeback]," Taylor says of the Steelers. "The reason why I think you're setting them back is because you've seen the progression in Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow -- before he got hurt -- and Baker Mayfield."
"So, we're talking about three young quarterbacks in one division. Who you going to pick last?"
Taylor says the answer to that question is Ben ... which is why he wants to see Roethlisberger ride off into the sunset this offseason so Pittsburgh can find a QB who can keep up with the rest of the AFC North's young guns.
"Ain't nothing wrong with shutting that thing down," Taylor says. "It's hard for a lot of people to shut it down. It's hard."
Don't get it twisted, though ... Taylor had tremendous praise for Ben, saying the guy's career was second to none.
And, if Ben truly is willing to take a massive pay cut to stay under center in the black and gold ... Ike says the Steelers don't have much of a choice other than to bring him back.
But, Taylor did advise Ben that he's got to take a page out of Tom Brady's book -- and get his body right for next season so he can have success as a pocket passer.
There's more ... Ike also spoke with us about another one of his former teammates, Antonio Brown, and says it wouldn't surprise him if AB won Super Bowl MVP honors on Sunday.