NFL Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

Could the Pittsburgh Steelers need a new starting quarterback for the 2017 season? Based on comments made by Ben Roethlisberger, that’s a distinct possibility.

“I’m going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options,” Ben told CBS Pittsburgh. “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.”

Whoa.

“If there’s going to be a a next season.”

When pressed further on the issue, Roethlisberger didn’t give Steelers fans a real glimmer of hope, either, that this is just him feeling weary after a long season.

“I’m going to take some time and evaluate with my family and just do a lot of praying about it and make sure it’s the right thing for me and my family.”

Those aren’t words to take lightly, especially from a stalwart gamer like Big Ben, who has consistently gutted out some extremely painful injuries throughout his career. He’s clearly thinking about retirement.

But they are words that make sense, too. Roethlisberger has been banged up every year it seems and is about to turn 35 years old. His knees, in particular, have taken some serious abuse over the years, and perhaps he’s really starting to wonder what kind of quality of life he will have after football if that trend continues.

It’s worth pointing out that Big Ben is still one of the better quarterbacks in the league and still could be for years to come. He passed for 3,819 yards and 29 touchdowns in 14 games this year and led the Steelers to the AFC Championship Game.

But at this point it’s not about what he can do with his arm that seems to be the issue. This is going to be a fascinating story to follow throughout the offseason. And it’s one that could have Pittsburgh’s front office in scramble mode.