Ben Roethlisberger has been a staple of the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense for the past 13 years, and it's never been a concern that he'd be stepping away from the game any time soon.
That could change this offseason in what's a becoming a shocking development. Roethlisberger said Tuesday on 93.7 The Fan that he's uncertain about his future in the NFL and will consider all options.
"I'm going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options," Roethlisberger said. "To consider health, and family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season, if there's going to be a next season."
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Roethlisberger was asked point-blank if he'll play next season, to which he said this:
"I'm going to take some time and evaluate with my family and just do a lot of praying about it and make sure it's the right thing for me and my family."
Roethlisberger, 34, has been a bit banged up the past two years. He missed five games last season due to a knee injury, which he called "one of the worst bone bruises" he's ever had. This season, Roethlisberger missed two games due to another knee ailment, on which he had to undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair.
Roethlisberger is undoubtedly one of the toughest quarterbacks in the league, but considering the beating he's taken recently, it's hard to blame him for questioning his playing future -- even though his 95.4 QB rating this season was above his career average of 94.1.
Mike Tomlin was made aware of Roethlisberger's comments Tuesday and responded by saying he's not alarmed but does take it seriously.
Tomlin: Ben said it so you do take it seriously. I'm not alarmed by it, that's football. Obviously, I'm hopeful he returns.— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) January 24, 2017
Tomlin: Not surprised by that thought process by Ben. We'll react and plan accordingly. We haven't met yet. He's one of last I meet with— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) January 24, 2017
One thing to take into account with all of this is that Roethlisberger retiring would cause him to owe the Steelers $18.6 million, barring a clause in his contract preventing such a payback.