Ben Roethlisberger is not committing to the Steelers beyond the 2017 season.
The quarterback told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this week that he’s “got to take it year by year at this point.”
“I’m never going to look past any year because I want to give everything I have to that year,” Roethlisberger said. “I’m not worried about next year. I have to win now. I think we can. I believe we have just about everybody back. I want to see what we look like as a team that’s a year better.”
Roethlisberger clarified that thinking about his future after football doesn’t have to equate to an early retirement, citing Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who retired briefly in 2014 but just signed a two-year extension and turned 39 on Thursday.
He vowed to give his best this year, with the Steelers a contender once again and the quarterback coming off three straight Pro Bowl nods.
“I hope the people of Pittsburgh know me well enough to know I love football, I love Pittsburgh and I love the Steelers,” Roethlisberger said. “My teammates and Steelers fans are going to get 110 percent from me. They don’t need to worry about getting anything less.”
After 13 seasons, Roethlisberger is ninth all-time with 301 passing touchdowns and 10th in passing yards with 46,814. Last week, the Steelers drafted Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs in the fourth round as a developmental quarterback, but they expect Roethlisberger to remain the starter for the foreseeable future. The team believes he has at least few more prime years left.
Roethlisberger said he plans to help teach Dobbs the quarterback position at the NFL level, and “if he turns out to be the guy who follows me, great.”
He also plans to speak with wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who is under conditional reinstatement with the NFL after missing all of 2016 for substance abuse violations.
“He has to win back everybody’s trust,” Roethlisberger said.
If Roethlisberger needed offseason motivation, he could find it from the Cleveland Browns’ No. 1 overall pick, defensive end Myles Garrett, who said he hopes Roethlisberger is his first sack. Pittsburgh plays at Cleveland in the Sept. 10 opener.
“I was talking to [Maurkice Pouncey] after Garrett called me out,” Roethlisberger said. “Pounce got a big kick out of it. All of my linemen enjoyed hearing it. They can’t wait to get started. I can’t either.”