Steelers appear to decide Ben Roethlisberger’s fate

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Perhaps the NFL clock has not run out yet for Big Ben.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are optimistic that longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will return in 2021 for an 18th season with the organization, NFL Network reported Saturday.

The 38-year-old Roethlisberger showed his age at times this season, but he still finished with 3,803 passing yards and 33 touchdowns in 15 games. The two-time Super Bowl champion threw for another 501 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions in Pittsburgh’s first-round playoff loss last week to the Cleveland Browns.

Roethlisberger is due $19 million in 2021, but he carries a heavy salary-cap hit of $41 million.

“I don’t have a clear assessment of the overall depth of the cap ramifications, but I think it’s reasonable to assume there’s a chance he’ll be back, certainly,” head coach Mike Tomlin said earlier this week.

The Steelers, who lost five of their final six games after opening the season 11-0, could seek to restructure Roethlisberger’s deal to help retain pending free agents such as wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

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