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Ben Roethlisberger says he'll return for 2017 season

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Surprise, surprise, Ben Roethlisberger will not retire.

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback announced via Twitter that he informed the team he's looking forward to playing his 14th NFL season. "Steeler Nation will get my absolute best," he wrote.

After a playoff loss to the New England Patriots, Roethlisberger said he was contemplating retirement, noting he wanted to "evaluate" all his options.

No one bought the storyline.

It's fair for a 34-year-old to think about the future and spending more time with his family, especially after a playoff loss. But it didn't seem believable Big Ben would walk away with so much left in the tank on a team with enough talent to reach a Super Bowl.

Coach Mike Tomlin admitted the Steelers needed to prepare for life after Roethlisberger, but team president Art Rooney II quickly said he expected Big Ben to return in 2017.

"As an organization, we have been hopeful that Ben would return this year," Tomlin said in a statement. "Ben and I have had many conversations, and I understood at this point in his career he is going to have to think about his long-term future. There is no question Ben wants to win championships for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and we know he will do everything possible to lead our entire team to achieving that goal."

Opponents certainly didn't believe the two-time Super Bowl winner would walk away.

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

While it surprises no one that Big Ben returns for another season, the Steelers must still find an eventual heir. Landry Jones is not the answer. Pittsburgh could be one of several teams with aging franchise quarterbacks to swipe one of the developmental signal-callers in the first two days of the draft, which takes place April 27-29 in Philadelphia.

With Roethlisberger still under center, Antonio Brown locked in for the foreseeable future, Le'Veon Bell under the franchise tag, and the possible return of Martavis Bryant, the Steelers sit as one of the few AFC teams with the talent to knock off the New England Patriots.

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