Roethlisberger created uneasiness among Steelers fans after telling 92.3 The Fan in late January that he would evaluate his future and "if there's going to be a next season." In April, Roethlisberger said on his official Twitter account that the Steelers would get his "absolute best" next season.
What brought him back to the lineup?
"Honestly it doesn't really matter. I'm happy to be back here. I'm happy to be back with the team," Roethlisberger said on Day 1 of OTAs, adding that he took every rep and got extra work with rookies. "I love the city. I love these guys. I love being out there. Football is a passion of mine. It's what I do; it's what I love to do."
The 35-year-old Roethlisberger is essentially on a year-to-year plan; he hasn't publicly committed to playing in 2018.
When asked about how serious he was about potentially retiring, Roethlisberger responded, "What, did you think I was lying?"
And regarding how close he got to retirement, Roethlisberger said, "doesn't matter, I'm here now."
Roethlisberger ranks 10th in NFL history with 46,814 passing yards and ninth in touchdowns with 301. The Steelers appear to think Roethlisberger -- who's made three straight Pro Bowls -- has at least a few prime years left.
The Steelers return their top playmakers from last year's team, which won 11 regular-season games and two playoff games, plus receiving threats in second-round rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant, who returns from suspension.
"We have a long way to go. This is day one of many," Roethlisberger said. "I like that we've got a lot of guys back and some guys coming back that weren't here last year -- [Bryant] and whatnot. You have to be excited about the people we have here."