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Art Rooney: I expect Ben Roethlisberger to play in 2017

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Although Ben Roethlisberger has yet to definitively announce his plans since broaching the possibility of retirement in late January, the Steelers are proceeding as if their franchise quarterback will be under center in Week 1.

Just two days after coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged that he doesn't "spend a lot of time dwelling" on the issue, team president Art Rooney II told NFL Network's Steve Wyche that he expects Roethlisberger to play this season.

Rooney added that he has personally spoken to Roethlisberger, as have Tomlin and other members of the Steelers organization.

"I certainly expect him to be back," Rooney said on Tuesday's edition of Up to the Minute Live. "I think it was mostly frustration of coming out of a tough loss in the AFC Championship Game.

"But by the same token, Ben's at the stage of his career where he owes it to himself to evaluate where he is and how long he's going to go."

To Rooney's point, Roethlisberger isn't the lone veteran quarterback this offseason to ponder the end of his playing career. Carson Palmer decided against retirement, while Jay Cutler and Tony Romo are reportedly weighing the option.

Roethlisberger conceded just over a week ago that he's "leaning towards" playing in 2017.

If you never took Roethlisberger's retirement drama seriously, you're not alone.

"As we're preparing for the Steelers right now, we're preparing for No. 7," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday at the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix. "I can promise you that."

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