Ben Roethlisberger says his 'plan' is to play in 2018, but doesn't totally the shut door

The 2017 Steelers offseason featured a whole lot of nothing about whether or not Ben Roethlisberger would return and play for the team, after Big Ben decided to utilize a radio interview to question his future in football. Ben played it passive aggressive all offseason, and it lingered into the 2017 season, with him openly asking how much he had left after the Jaguars picked him off five times in Week 5. It appears this could linger another full offseason. 

Asked by reporters -- naturally curious after last year's drama party -- about whether or not he was planning to come back and play for the Steelers in 2018, Roethlisberger said his "plan" is to do that. 

Which, of course, is hardly a confirmation. When you listen to the full answer about his passion for continuing to play, it does sound like Roethlisberger is actually going to play next year.

"I definitely have a desire to play. I love this game. I love these guys," Roethlisberger said after the Steelers loss to the Jaguars on Sunday. "It's tough, it stings, you hate to lose at home. I feel bad because I feel like I let my teammates down, let the fans down." 

Roethlisberger pointed out he doesn't know what the contract status for everyone is, but that the "guys up front" are locked in and he "looks forward to next year with those guys."

Pressed on whether or not people would need to keep asking, Ben was a little bit annoyed.

"My answer was good enough," Roethlisberger said, sort of smiling.

Here's the thing: Ben is legitimately concerned about continuing to play and maintaining his health. But the Steelers are a well-run organization with a ton of talent on the roster. Antonio Brown is locked in and they're going to franchise tag Le'Veon Bell. Plus, Roethlisberger is under contract for two more years for a lot of money. 

If I had to bet, it wouldn't be the last time we hear about Ben potentially walking away from the game this offseason, but at least he sort of tried to get people not to ask him about 2018 for the next few weeks.

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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