Roethlisberger acknowledged Friday that he is leaning toward playing another season, the Washington Observer-Reporter reports. Shortly after Pittsburgh was eliminated from the playoffs, Roethlisberger said it was prudent to make sure he really wants to continue playing. It would still be a huge surprise if the 35-year-old retired, as he was seemingly just trying to say that he's at the point of his career when it makes sense to at least start thinking about the end. Considering he has a sizable contract and a strong supporting cast, Roethlisberger has ample reason to stick around for at least another year or two. He does take more of a beating than the typical quarterback, which could ultimately lead to retirement before the quality of his play drastically declines.
At this stage, Roethlisberger won't commit to playing next season, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. It would of course be a stunner if Roethlisberger, who turns 35 in March, elected to retire, but it's a scenario that the QB has declined to rule out 100 percent, at least for now. "I'm not by any means saying I'm not coming back or anything like that," Roethlisberger noted Tuesday on his weekly radio segment on 93.7 FM. "I'm saying at this point of my career that it's prudent...to evaluate, to make sure." Meanwhile, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler relays that two Steelers team sources indicated they would be surprised if Roethlisberger retired, but added that they are respecting the signal-caller's process. Zach Mettenberger is currently the only other quarterback the team has under contract for 2017.
Roethlisberger completed 31 of 47 passes for 314 yards with one touchdown and one interception in Sunday's 36-17 AFC championship game loss to the Patriots. Roethlisberger acquitted himself well considering he only had Le'Veon Bell (groin) on the field for one play after the first quarter, and the fact the Patriots unsurprisingly focused on limiting Antonio Brown as much as possible. Big Ben was also victimized by drops on the part of first-year wideouts Cobi Hamilton and Sammie Coates, including one by the former on a sure touchdown late in the first half. One of the more encouraging aspects of the last two games of the Steelers' postseason was Roethlisberger's burgeoning rapport with TE Jesse James, who he connected with another five times Sunday, and 10 times overall in the last two weeks. Roethlisberger finishes his 13th season with 3,819 yards, 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions over 14 games, and could potentially be in for a bigger campaign in 2017 with the potential return of Martavis Bryant (suspension) and having Bell active for all 16 games.
Roethlisberger completed 20 of 31 passes for 224 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in Sunday's 18-16 divisional-round victory over the Chiefs. He also gained a yard on four rushes. Big Ben primarily got out of the way and let Le'Veon Bell and his defense handle most of the heavy lifting. That's not to say he didn't have an impact in the victory, however, as Roethlisberger made several impressive throws, including a 52-yard bomb to Antonio Brown and a 26-yard strike to Jesse James down to the Chiefs' five-yard line. His one mistake came when he got a tad greedy on the play following the latter completion, as he reportedly audibled out of a run and subsequently had his pass batted by Frank Zombo at the line and intercepted by Eric Berry. Roethlisberger was mistake-free otherwise, and will likely need a similarly pristine performance in next week's conference championship for the Steelers to have a realistic chance of upending the Patriots on the road. Roethlisberger has now completed 33 of 49 passes for 421 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions over two postseason games.
Roethlisberger (foot) does not carry an injury designation for Sunday night's playoff game against the Chiefs. Roethlisberger and the Steelers were originally slated to play at 1:05 ET on Sunday, but an ice storm forecast for this weekend in the Kansas City area has led to the contest being moved to 8:20 ET. Per the report, the decision to make the change was made "in consultation with state and local officials as well as the Chiefs and the Steelers." While the switch will presumably help the teams avoid the worst of Sunday's local weather, the contest will nonetheless take place in less than balmy conditions.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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