Ben Roethlisberger might've been blowing off some steam when he said he was going to consider retirement on Tuesday, but even if that's the case, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is still taking the threat seriously.
During his season-ending press conference on Tuesday, which was held just hours after Roethlisberger made his retirement comments, Tomlin said he wasn't "alarmed" by Big Ben's remarks, but he also added that the team would be ready for whatever decision Roethlisberger made.
"He said it, so you do take it seriously," Tomlin said, via the Associated Press. "That's a fair assessment where he is in his career. I'm not alarmed by it. That's football. Obviously I'm hopeful that he returns and the potential of his return or not returning will weigh heavily on our planning. That's life. He's the most significant component of what it is that we do. We'll plan and react accordingly."
If you missed Roethlisberger's comments, the quarterback wouldn't commit to playing in 2017 when he was asked about his future during an interview on CBS Radio's 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh.
"I'm gonna take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options, to consider health and family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season -- if there's gonna be a next season," Roethlisberger said. "All those things. At that point in my career and my age I feel like that's the prudent and smart thing to do every year."
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora wrote on Tuesday that Roethlisberger's complaint was likely just meant as a message to the Steelers' front office about changes that need to be made. That makes sense because Big Ben's comments basically came out of nowhere.
Back in July, the Steelers quarterback sounded like his plans were to play forever when he was asked about retirement during training camp.
Roethlisberger on retirement: "I don't see an end. I don't see that right now."— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) July 29, 2016
As for Tomlin, he hasn't had his year-end meeting with Roethlisberger, which might be why he didn't sound completely concerned on Tuesday.
"He and I haven't visited officially yet," Tomlin said. "I'll have a better assessment when we do."
When Roethlisberger meets with Tomlin, he'll have a chance to voice any concerns he might have with teammates or other coaches. If Big Ben still wants to retire after that meeting, then the Steelers could have a huge issue heading into next season.