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Ben Roethlisberger regrets fallout caused by retirement talk

Ben Roethlisberger seriously contemplated retirement this past offseason but decided to give it one more year, much to the relief of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the team’s fans. While Roethlisberger admits his retirement thoughts were legitimate, he now regrets the frenzy caused by publicly broadcasting them.

“I understand, so it won’t happen again,” Roethlisberger said Monday, laughing, during an appearance on 93.7 The Fan, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Roethlisberger fueled retirement rumors shortly after the Steelers’ loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game by refusing to commit to playing in 2017. He finally announced he was returning for the 2017 NFL season in April.

Roethlisberger said during his Monday interview it was simply a case of thinking out loud.

“That’s all it was. It was just thoughts,” Roethlisberger said. “It was just, I think, a prudent thing to do. Maybe I should’ve worded it, like, ‘Hey, I’m probably coming back, but I need to consider all my options.’ It had nothing to do with the [loss to the Patriots in the AFC championship] and this and that.

“It really was all about football, life, what’s going on at my age.”

Roethlisberger earlier this month hinted at playing beyond 2017 but is “only going to focus on this year.” He articulated that same outlook on Monday.

“I hate to sit here and say that I’m gonna play for 10 more years, and I’ve said this before: I want to focus on this year,” Roethlisberger said. “I’m gonna give everything I have to this year, and if I’m gonna say ‘I’m definitely gonna be here in three years,’ well then, I’m cheating, I’m giving myself a timeline.

“I wanna be right here, right now and give everything I have to this. When I’m done, I’ll know I’m done.”

The Steelers have no choice but to prepare for a future without Big Ben. And the following photo from Monday’s practice illustrates the tremendous toll a long career has taken on Roethlisberger.

That image alone helps explain why Big Ben considered retirement in the first place.