Ben: 'I want to be here'

LATROBE, Pa. – The Steelers organization and the franchise quarterback are on the same page as it relates to Ben Roethlisberger's immediate and long-term future.

General Manager Kevin Colbert said today he doesn't see "a circumstance where Ben won't finish his career here."

And Roethlisberger doesn't want to envision one.

"That's always been what I've said, too," Roethlisberger acknowledged this afternoon at Saint Vincent College. "I said it last year when the erroneous NFL Network reports came out (about Roethlisberger being unhappy in Pittsburgh and being expected to ask the organization to explore possibilities of a trade in the offseason).

"I want to be here."

Steelers President Art Rooney II reiterated on Friday the team's  "intent" to sign Roethlisberger to a long-term contract extension after the upcoming season, and he said the Roethlisberger camp has been informed of the Steelers' plans.

"We wanted to make sure they were understanding that we do want to make a commitment, that we do want to address Ben's contract next year," Rooney told "It's not a situation where we're saying we want to put it on hold. We did assure him that next year is the time frame in which we want to address it."

Deserving Steelers quarterbacks have traditionally been extended with two years remaining. Roethlisberger is signed through 2015.

One of the advantages of the current arrangement is saving salary cap space the Steelers potentially could use to extend players who are within a season of unrestricted free agency. Cornerback Cortez Allen, offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert, kicker Shaun Suisham, and linebacker Jason Worilds are starters who fall into that category.

Still, delaying the paperwork on his next agreement with the Steelers represents a leap of faith on the part of the player and the ball club. The Steelers are banking on Roethlisberger remaining as committed to staying with the team long-term even after moving to within a year of free agency. And Roethlisberger is counting on remaining healthy and productive.

Top Photographs of Ben Roethlisberger.

It's an arrangement with which Roethlisberger is more than happy to take his chances.

"It's family," Roethlisberger maintained. "The Pittsburgh Steelers are family, from the Rooneys down. It means a lot because there's a lot of love from the Rooney family to the coaches to the players and the players back to the Rooneys.

"Every time you step on the field it's a gamble, whether you're in a contract year or you just got a contract or whatever, because it's a very violent, physical sport. But you know what? We play it, we know the risk. We just go out and give it everything we have.

"We can't worry about getting hurt or playing safe. I'm not going to get rid of the ball any quicker this year because I'm thinking about not getting hurt. I'm going to give it everything I have like I always do."

If things eventually work out as Roethlisberger and the Steelers plan, he will have started and would ultimately finish his career with the same franchise.

"It would mean a lot," Roethlisberger said. "It would mean everything to me because I love this team, I love the family, and that includes the fans.

"I love Pittsburgh, it's home for me, and I don't want to go anywhere else."

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