Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger will weigh CTE concerns when deciding on playing beyond this season

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LATROBE, Pa. -- Ben Roethlisberger has created a compelling case for potential retirement as early as 2018.

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback detailed his thought process about his future in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and other outlets, citing the growing knowledge about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and his family.

"I've been blessed to do this a long time," Roethlisberger, 35, told the Post-Gazette. He starts each training camp with a series of interviews with long-standing local media. "I think it's just seeing my kids growing up, and in the offseason I love getting to spend time with them, and then I come here and football season just has to take up so much of your time. Even when you get home, I try my best to turn it off when I walk in the front door. I think I do a pretty good job of that, but it still consumes you in a way.

"Just all those things combined -- being healthy, being able to play catch with my kids. I feel good mentally, I know this new study that came out that 90 percent of players' brains who were studied had CTE.

"There's a lot of scary things, and I think my wife would be OK if I hung it up, too. But I still love the guys, I still love the game, so it was right for me to come back and give it everything I have this year."

Roethlisberger maintains the Steelers' 36-17 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC title game was not a factor in his retirement consideration this past offseason. Roethlisberger eventually committed to playing a 14th year in April.

A recent Boston University study linked brain decease to repeated head blows after nearly all of the 202 brains studied from players at the high school, college and professional levels showed signs of CTE. In most cases, the donors or their families contributed to the study as a result of troubling symptoms suffered before the players' deaths.

Roethlisberger, who has spoken in the past about concerns for his long-term health after taking many hits during his career, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he will include the CTE studies in his retirement decision.

Roethlisberger has not committed to 2018 because, as he says, focusing on anything beyond this season is cheating the team.

"I want to play catch with my kids," said Roethlisberger, according to the Tribune-Review. "I want to know my kids' names. As much as I want my kids to remember what I did and watch me play the game, I also want to remember them when I'm 70 years old."

Other aging quarterbacks such as Tom Brady and Drew Brees have entertained playing into their 40s, but Roethlisberger seems content with not going that route, telling the Post-Gazette, "a big one for me is my family and my kids."