Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger won't commit to playing football in 2017

Well here's a surprising offseason story: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger isn't committing to playing football in 2017.

Appearing on CBS Radio's 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning, Roethlisberger said he has been talking with people in his camp (family, agent, etc) and is going to take time to "evaluate" and "consider all options" about his future during this offseason.

"I don't know. It's one of those things, I was talking to my wife about it last night. I talked to my agent about it, coach about it," Roethlisberger said. "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. 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."

Ha ha? That's just about the craziest thing we've ever heard. The idea of Roethlisberger walking away from football right now, at 34 and coming off his 13th NFL season, would be wild. But he flat-out wouldn't commit to playing another year of football.

Asked point blank about whether or not he would be playing football next year, Roethlisberger refused to confirm he would be back.

"Like I said, I'm going to take some time and evaluate with my family and really do a lot of praying about it and make sure it's the right thing for me and my family," Roethlisberger said.

The hosts in question on "The Cook and Poni Show" were literally "flabbergasted" and unable to ask a follow-up question, because the idea of Roethlisberger walking away from football at this point in time would be a stunner.

Ben did temper things a little bit by saying he wasn't claiming he'd leave, but, again, he didn't confirm he would be back for next year.

"I'm not by any means saying I'm not coming back or anything like that," Roethlisberger. "I'm just saying at the point of my career, I think it's prudent ... to evaluate, to just make sure. You want to be able to leave this game, walking out of it in a healthy spot. You don't want to be 'carted out,' you don't want to leave this game and be worse for the wear. That's why I think it's prudent."

Couple this with the news about Antonio Brown potentially pouting after a touchdown in the playoffs and folks in Pittsburgh being worried about his future there and there's a whole lot of information percolating with the Steelers to start this offseason.

But let's be real here: Ben Roethlisberger is is only 34 years old. He has taken a pounding throughout his career but he's got some good football left in his arm and body. He is also slated to make $18 million next year (and then $23 million in 2018 and $23 million in 2019). The Steelers were one game away from the Super Bowl this season and look like the prohibitive favorites in the AFC North again next season.

This probably isn't Ben actually walking away, so much as it is Ben setting the stage for potentially walking away down the road. Or, perhaps, making sure that the Steelers are interested in investing in the immediate future to try and help him win now.

Either way, it should be a nice, fun offseason for Steelers fans at this rate.

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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