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Rooney: Steelers started contract talks with Big Ben

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are getting to work on a contract extension for Ben Roethlisberger.

"Ben has one more year left on his existing contract and we've already started talking to him and his representative about extending that contract," team president Art Rooney II said Wednesday, via the team's official website. "So, I think that Ben has some good years left. He's still, I would say, close to being in the prime of his career."

Big Ben has one year left on his contract that calls for a salary cap hit of $23.2 million, with a base salary of $12 million and a $5 million roster bonus due in March. The Steelers would likely look for an extension that lowers Roethlisberger's cap figure in the immediate years, pushing off the larger numbers down the road.

It's not surprising that with a contract extension on the way, Big Ben has shut down the potential retirement talks this offseason. Rooney noted that Roethlisberger, currently 36 years old, can play out the length of any new contract extension.

"And now that we see quarterbacks around the league that are playing into their 40s, I am not sure there is any reason why Ben can't play for several more years. So we are looking forward to that," Rooney said.

Any new extension would likely ensure Big Ben spends his entire career in Pittsburgh.

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