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Steelers

Rooney: Ben Roethlisberger hoping to play beyond current contract with Steelers

Joe Rutter
| Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, 4:03 p.m.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws during practice Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
Chaz Palla
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws during practice Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
New Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner stands on the sidelines with Ben Roethlisberger during the 2017 season.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
New Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner stands on the sidelines with Ben Roethlisberger during the 2017 season.

Ben Roethlisberger wants to play for the Steelers long enough to warrant a new contract.

That is the opinion of team president Art Rooney II, who told reporters Wednesday that Roethlisberger wants to be under center after his deal expires in two seasons.

“It's good news, and I hope we have the problem of figuring out how to extend his contract,” Rooney II said.

At this time last year, Roethlisberger was considering retirement. He waited until April to announce he would return for a 14th NFL season.

Roethlisberger clashed with former offensive coordinator Todd Haley, whose contract was not renewed. He has a closer relationship with new coordinator and quarterback coach Randy Fichtner.

Roethlisberger told teammates late in the season he wanted to play three more years, a viewpoint which Rooney echoed Wednesday.

“We haven't had a long conversation about that other than him saying he is interested in playing beyond his contract,” Rooney said. “That's good news to me, and his play this year certainly makes you feel like he does have a few years left in him.”

Roethlisberger, who turns 36 next month, finished fifth in the NFL with 4,251 yards and tied for fifth with 28 touchdown passes. He was named to the Pro Bowl for the sixth time in his career and fourth year in a row.

Roethlisberger has a $12 million salary for 2018 and will count $23.2 million against the salary cap.

In the past, the Steelers extended Roethlisberger's contract (and lowered his salary-cap hit) with two years remaining. However, when he signed a five-year deal in 2015, it happened with only one year left on his contract.

“There really isn't a set formula to it,” Rooney said. “When you're dealing with somebody at this stage of his career, I'm not sure we've ever dealt with a quarterback we're extending at this age. There's no precedent for where we are.

“We have a great relationship with Ben. We'll talk through things. The important thing is he wants to be here, and he wants to continue to play beyond the contract.”

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jrutter@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

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