Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert still doesn’t know if quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will return next season.
He’d sure like him back — for a long time. Still, he’s contemplating contingency plans.
“I hope he plays forever,” Colbert said. “Chances are he will extend his career, we don’t know how long it will go. But you always have to be prepared to select a quarterback at some point, and he’s aware of that. We’ve talked about it. He understands that if we add a guy into the mix, we’ll do that at some point. “
Earlier this year, Roethlisberger said he needed time to think about his future before coming back for a 14th season.
Steelers president Art Rooney II said in late January that, after speaking with Roethlisberger, he expects the veteran quarterback to return in 2017.
However, in something of a rare admission, Rooney said it might be time to look at the quarterback position in the draft.
“We haven’t drafted a quarterback in several years,” Rooney said. “We’re probably due to look at the position.”
Harrison gets two-year deal: James Harrison, meanwhile, is definitely returning to the Steelers.
The five-time Pro Bowl linebacker has signed a two-year contract with the team that will keep Harrison in black and gold past his 40th birthday.
Harrison led the Steelers with five sacks in 2016. He became the franchise's all-time sack leader last season when he broke Jason Gildon's club record. Harrison now has 79 1/2 sacks in 13 years with the team.
The signing gives Pittsburgh some reassurance as it prepares for free agency. The team is unlikely to re-sign linebacker Jarvis Jones, the player Pittsburgh drafted in 2013 to replace Harrison.
Harrison, who retired briefly in 2014, said he felt energized by his performance during 2016 and indicated he wanted to come back after the Steelers fell to New England in the AFC championship game.