Ben Roethlisberger laughs off talk he no longer cares about football

Stephen A. defends comments on Roethlisberger (1:50)

Stephen A. Smith explains that Ben Roethlisberger was clearly at a much different playing caliber at the particular time he said the QB should consider retiring. (1:50)

PITTSBURGH -- Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is taking notice of critics who think he doesn't care anymore in light of his flirtation with retirement in the offseason.

Fresh off a four-touchdown performance against the Tennessee Titans, Roethlisberger said on his weekly radio show that such critics "don't know what they are talking about."

"In a way it's like, 'Wait a second, you're going to take a shot at me and you don't know me?'" Roethlisberger said on his Tuesday show, which is broadcast on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh. "I'm going to go out here and bust my butt every day and be limping with bruises and put my body and my family through this and not care? You're absolutely nuts."

From the podium after Thursday's 40-17 win over the Titans, Roethlisberger was asked how his 299-yard, turnover-free performance felt. Roethlisberger said it felt good, then he brought up the narrative from critics who have questioned his commitment to the game.

"A lot's been made about me not caring or whatever. ... Nothing further from the truth," Roethlisberger said Thursday. "I go out there and give everything I have. It's fun to go out here and have one of these games."

Roethlisberger mentioned ESPN's Stephen A. Smith as one who has publicly questioned whether Roethlisberger's heart is still in the game. Most of the criticism nationally came after Roethlisberger's five interceptions in Week 5 against the Jacksonville Jaguars and his postgame comment that "maybe I just don't have it anymore."

"I laughed about it," Roethlisberger said on his radio show. "'Why is Ben still playing if he doesn't care? If he's not playing well, he must not care about it.' It couldn't be further from the truth. You don't know what you're talking about."

Roethlisberger said his teammates, coaches and those in his inner circle know how he deals with the game day-to-day. After a slow start to the season, Roethlisberger's passer rating has climbed to 87.8 after he threw for 1,076 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions over his past four games.

Said Roethlisberger, who is in his 14th season, "I've done this long enough, too, that I can let [criticism] roll off my back."