Ron Cook: No doubt Ben Roethlisberger will play on

As a kid, my grandmother would call me in from a morning of street hockey, wiffle ball, and "release" on Ruthwood Avenue in Baldwin around noon every day for lunch. "Our plan is that generally he's one of the last, if not the last, player I meet with". He became the first quarterback in National Football League history to throw for more than 390 yards in two different conference-championship games, having already done so in 2013 against the San Francisco 49ers. That's football. Obviously I'm hopeful that he returns, and his potential for returning or not returning will weigh heavily in our planning, but I'm not alarmed or surprised by his thought process. To think they were mortar shells though, and nothing more than more blanks across the bow of his Head Coach's desk, is foolish. The way things ended leaves an unsavory taste, which is odd for a 13-win season. It didn't cause him to miss any game time, any practice time. Then there were questions of discipline and accountability that, at the time, seemingly helped put the wraps on that 4-game losing streak in mid-November.

The two-time Super Bowl champion wants to make sure continuing would be the "right thing" to do.

To think he's not going to exercise that power from time-to-time would be foolish.

Without having gone through his 2016 exit interview with Mike Tomlin yet, the prudent thing to do would have been to wait to tell Tomlin face-to-face about the questions regarding his future he and his wife have discussed. People have been calling for Tomlin's head ever since he arrived in Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, Tomlin said he was aware of soreness in star running back Le'Veon Bell's groin that Bell eventually injured in the first quarter of the loss to the Patriots.

Condom Scandal: Knights of Malta Head Quits in Pope Spat
The dispute is seen as a power struggle between traditionalists and reformers within the order and the Vatican . That unprecedented defiance of papal authority appears to have been the last straw.

However, it sounds like Roethlisberger will be doing even more "evaluating" this off season. Winning is what has driven Roethlisberger and will bring him back. However, Mike Tomlin is not one of them. But he said he's thinking about it, so the possibility needs to be taken seriously.

This likely will be much to do about nothing, but it is just a reminder to fans that Roethlisberger's career is closer to the end that we all might think.

After facing Colin Kaepernick, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jared Goff, Joe Flacco, Trevor Siemian, Bryce Petty, Matt Moore, and Brock Osweiler in consecutive weeks, a veritable rotation of back-ups, nobodies, and has-beens, Roethlisberger was finally supposed to be the quarterback to expose the Patriots defense. Either way, I'm headed back outside for a mean game of street hockey.

"As far as replacing Tomlin, I know a pee-wee Coach who can step rtf in = same results".

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