Ben Roethlisberger confirms considering retirement: 'It doesn't matter' how serious

This offseason, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger put plenty of fear into Pittsburgh fans by declaring in late January that he wasn't committing to playing football in 2017. Retirement was on the table, but no one really believed him, even when he doubled down and said in March he was only "leaning" towards playing.

Roethlisberger finally announced he would return, giving everyone an official sigh of relief. One former teammate of Big Ben's, Willie Colon, says the quarterback took the thought of retirement "seriously" and this week Roethlisberger confirmed as much.

"What, did you think I was lying?" Roethlisberger asked when someone inquired about Colon's comments. "It doesn't matter, I'm here now."

The phrase "doesn't matter" got repeated as well, because people wanted to, understandably, know just how serious Roethlisberger was about actually walking away from football. 

Roethlisberger wasn't really interested in talking about his level of interest in walking away from the game, which was probably fairly low considering the Steelers are still good, he's still not that old and he's still slated to make a boatload of cash in the coming seasons.

"It honestly doesn't even matter. I'm happy to be back here, I'm happy to be back with the team," Roethlisberger said. "I love this city, I love these guys. I love being out here. Football is a passion of mine. It's what I do and what I love to do."

Asked specifically how committed he is, Roethlisberger echoed that he's all-in on this season with the Steelers.

"I'm 110 percent committed, like I said I was," Reothlisberger said.

The idea that he would walk away is pretty incredulous to consider. It seemed more likely that, following an embarrassing loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, Roethlisberger was just blowing off some steam and/or sending a message to the rest of the roster about the serious nature of how they should approach 2017. 

Roethlisberger is a two-time Super Bowl champion, but it's quietly been a while since the Steelers have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, at least by their lofty standards. 

Not that they haven't been good; the last two seasons, they fell to the eventual Super Bowl champs. They lost to the Broncos (without Antonio Brown, courtesy Vontaze Burfict) in 2015 and last year fell to the Patriots. In the 2014 playoffs, Pittsburgh lost to the Ravens after Le'Veon Bell went down with injury. Worth noting too is that Bell went down in the postseason last year too. 

They haven't been lucky at the end of the season despite winning 32 games over the past three years. It's probably frustrating to Roethlisberger, who, at the age of 35, understands he doesn't have a full career remaining. 

Which is why he has urgency for 2017. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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