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Ben Roethlisberger announces he’ll be back in 2017 just like we all knew he would be

Did anyone actually believe he would retire?

NFL: AFC Championship-Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

For a while there was a weird storyline that Ben Roethlisberger was mulling retirement even though nobody seemed even remotely concerned about the possibility that he would. That came to rest Friday when the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback announced he will be back for the 2017 season.

“I’m going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options,” Roethlisberger said during his weekly radio spot on Pittburgh’s 93.7 The Fan in January. “To consider health and family and things like that, and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season, if there’s going to be a next season.”

It took nearly three months, but Roethlisberger finally decided there will be a next season.

Roethlisberger, 35, has played in 185 games for the Steelers over the last 13 years and is the team’s all-time leader in every major passing category with 46,814 yards and 301 touchdowns. He has, however, dealt with injuries on a seemingly annual basis and had knee surgery during the 2016 season.

Still, Mike Tomlin was never too concerned that Roethlisberger would retire.

“I am proceeding with that assumption,” Tomlin told reporters at the owners meeting in Phoenix when asked if he thought Roethlisberger would return. “He and I have been in continual communication all offseason in the ways that we normally communicate. It has been business as usual in that regard. I don’t know that there is a line in the dirt. I guess we will know when we come to it.”

Steelers president Art Rooney expressed similar thoughts, and felt that Roethlisberger’s feelings were likely influenced by a tough loss to the New England Patriots that cost Pittsburgh a chance to play in the Super Bowl.

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

"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."

There are older quarterbacks in the league than Roethlisberger, but it appears as though the end of his career doesn’t look to be too far off in the horizon. That end won’t be coming this offseason, though.