Ben Roethlisberger will tie Terry Bradshaw for the longest tenure as a Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback when he embarks on his 14th season.

The question now becomes, will it be his last?

Roethlisberger, 35, said Friday that retirement remains an option for him after this season and that his wife would like to see him give up football.

In past years he’s talked about playing a lot longer, but mentioned in January the possibility of retiring, two days after the season ended with a loss to New England in the AFC championship game. He ultimately decided to come back this year but won’t commit beyond it.

Why the change of heart from the past?

“Age,” Roethlisberger said, then laughed. “It’s just, it’s 14 years; that’s a long time. I think the average life expectancy in the NFL is 3 years, maybe 31/2 now.

“I’ve been blessed to do this a long time. I think it’s just seeing my kids growing up, and in the offseason I love getting to spend time with them, and then I come here and football season just has to take up so much of your time. Even when you get home, I try my best to turn it off when I walk in the front door. I think I do a pretty good job of that, but it still consumes you in a way.

“Just all those things combined – being healthy, being able to play catch with my kids. I feel good mentally, I know this new study that came out that 90 percent (of NFL) players’ brains who were studied had CTE.

“There’s a lot of scary things and I think my wife would be OK if I hung it up, too. But I still love the guys, I still love the game, so it was right for me to come back and give it everything I have.”

Roethlisberger insists it wasn’t frustration with losing the AFC title game that prompted him to mention a possible retirement.

“It had to do with other factors in life. I think people assume it was the frustration, but honestly it had nothing to do with that; it was more about other things.”

He said he’s in good shape and his arm is fine, but he won’t commit to playing longer than 2017.

“I feel if I commit to anything past right now, I’m cheating. I’m looking forward to this season, and I’m going to give it everything I have, and afterwards we’ll sit down and do some (thinking) again.”

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