Big Ben bows out of Pro Bowl

PITTSBURGH -- Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger opted out of the Pro Bowl as a precaution, but the decision is not related to a larger problem with his knee, his agent said in an email to ESPN.com Friday night.

"Ben was instructed by team doctors to avoid strenuous activity due to inflammation in his knee, thus he will not play in the Pro Bowl," agent Ryan Tollner said. "His knee will not require surgery and he looks forward to an otherwise healthy offseason to improve with his teammates."

Roethlisberger made his third Pro Bowl after throwing for 4,952 yards in 2014 and sharing the NFL passing title with New Orleans' Drew Brees.

Brees has been tabbed to replace Roethlisberger in the Pro Bowl, which will be played Jan. 25, in Arizona.

Roethlisberger hurt his neck in the Steelers' 30-17 playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens last Saturday night and was out three plays before returning to the game.

Two days after the loss, coach Mike Tomlin said Roethlisberger might need minor surgery to clean up his knee.

With surgery not necessary, Roethlisberger will rest his knee before starting his offseason training.

Roethlisberger is entering the final year of the eight-year, $102 million contract he signed in 2008. He and the Steelers are expected to reach an agreement on a new long-term deal in the offseason.