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Ben Roethlisberger still has 'a desire to play football'

Ben Roethlisberger lost out on his chance at potential revenge in the AFC title game, but there's always next year.

Roethlisberger told reporters after the Steelers' 45-42 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday that he's looking forward to being back with the team next season.

"I have a desire to play football," Roethlisberger said. "I don't know about [player] contracts, who's coming back, but I know the guys up front are, and that makes it good for me. And I look forward to next year with those guys."

So that's it? After saying last offseason he was contemplating retirement, Big Ben is willing to make a declaration on the 2018 season minutes after losing at home in a heartbreaking upset?

"My answer was good enough," Roethlisberger told NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala when she asked the veteran quarterback a follow-up question regarding his statement.

Roethlisberger told reporters he believes the Steelers have a strong roster and are a talented team. So it makes sense he would be on board with returning despite failing to match last year's trip to the AFC title game.

It also doesn't hurt that Roethlisberger avoided the injuries that shadowed him in 2016, allowing him to have his best season since 2014. He passed for 4,251 yards and 28 touchdowns en route to leading Pittsburgh to a first-place finish in the AFC North.

It was one of the strongest campaigns of his 14-year career -- and what quarterback wouldn't want to play inside a talented offense that includes Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell and JuJu Smith-Schuster?

Despite Sunday's upset loss and a potential strain in his relationship with offensive coordinator Todd Haley, the 2017 season gave the 35-year-old Roethlisberger plenty of reasons to look forward to 2018. Hopefully, he won't have any second thoughts.

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