Big Ben Kicks around Retiring; in His 10 Years as Steelers Coach, Mike Tomlin Has Encountered His Share of Thirtysomething Players Who Were Unsure about Playing Football for Another Season -- Even Franchise Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. [Derived Headline]

By Rutter, Joe | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 24, 2017 | Go to article overview

Big Ben Kicks around Retiring; in His 10 Years as Steelers Coach, Mike Tomlin Has Encountered His Share of Thirtysomething Players Who Were Unsure about Playing Football for Another Season -- Even Franchise Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. [Derived Headline]


Rutter, Joe, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


In his 10 years as Steelers coach, Mike Tomlin has encountered his share of thirtysomething players who were unsure about playing football for another season -- even franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

It's just that, until Tuesday, Roethlisberger's hints of retirement were kept between coach and player.

Roethlisberger revealed on his weekly radio segment Tuesday that he has not committed to playing a 14th NFL season.

The news, which was surprising to hear come from the quarterback's lips, was not unexpected to Tomlin, who said he takes such talk "seriously."

"That's a fair assessment in terms of where he is in his career," Tomlin said at his annual end-of-season press conference. "I'm not alarmed by it. I just think that's football. Obviously, I'm hopeful that he returns and his return ... will weigh heavily on our planning, but I'm not alarmed or surprised by that thought process. That's life."

Tomlin said he began conducting exit interviews with players Tuesday but has not yet talked to Roethlisberger. He said Roethlisberger usually is the last player he meets with each season.

The issue of Roethlisberger, who turns 35 in March, possibly retiring was broached on 93.7 FM when he was asked how much time he has left in his career.

"I don't know. It's one of those things, I was talking to my wife about it last night and I've been talking to my agent about it and coach about it," Roethlisberger said. "I'm going to take this offseason to evaluate it, to consider all options, to consider health, family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season -- if there's going to be a next season -- all those things.

"At that point and age of my career, I think that's the prudent and smart thing to do every year."

Roethlisberger was sacked the fewest times of his career (17) but missed one game after having surgery on his knee to repair a meniscus tear. He also said he dealt with a shoulder injury since a November loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He said neither will require offseason surgery.

Roethlisberger threw for 3,819 yards, completing 64.4 percent of his passes. He threw 29 touchdown passes against 13 interceptions and had a 95.4 rating.

Roethlisberger mentioned tight end and friend Heath Miller, who retired last offseason at age 33 after an 11-year career.

"I'm not by any means saying I'm not coming back or anything like that," Roethlisberger said. "I'm saying at this point of my career that it's prudent ... to evaluate, to make sure.

"You want to be able to leave this game walking out of it in a healthy spot. …

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Big Ben Kicks around Retiring; in His 10 Years as Steelers Coach, Mike Tomlin Has Encountered His Share of Thirtysomething Players Who Were Unsure about Playing Football for Another Season -- Even Franchise Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. [Derived Headline]
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