Roethlisberger says he'll be back in 2018, endorses keeping staff intact

— -- PITTSBURGH - Ben Roethlisberger will lead the Steelers offense in 2018.

That's about the only certainty when it comes to the team's power structure on that side of the ball after coach Mike Tomlin cited a "gathering information" stage when given the chance to endorse offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

Roethlisberger said on his weekly radio show Tuesday morning that he won't commit to football past 2018 but stressed continuity for players and coaches in the offense is key.

"I'm just playing it one year at a time. I'm excited to come back next year," Roethlisberger said in response to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report that he's told teammates he's open to playing three more seasons. "I'm not going to look past one year. I'm going to look forward to next year and give it everything I have."

On Tuesday afternoon, Tomlin was vague when discussing the future of his staff, including Haley, whose contract is up. Tomlin acknowledged some members of his staff might not be in Pittsburgh next season.

Tomlin called the 45-42 playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC divisional round a "very disappointing end to an outstanding season," which included a 13-3 regular-season record and a No. 2 playoff seed.

"Some conversations need to be had. Some contracts are up, some contacts aren't," Tomlin said. "I'm not ready to discuss that at this point. Part of that, gaining that understanding is having those conversations. You'll hear about it as they unfold, I'm sure, if there's anything to be heard. But I'm not there yet."

Roethlisberger, 35, sounded open to working with Haley again, pointing to an offense that's "on the cusp." Roethlisberger is close with quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner, who moved from the coaching booth to the field late in the season.

Haley and Roethlisberger met this week and spoke fondly of their season together, Roethlisberger said. Haley's offenses have been among the NFL's best during most of his six-year stint as Steelers coordinator.

Roethlisberger was one of the league's hottest quarterbacks over the past two months, averaging 346 yards and three touchdowns per game in his last seven outings.

"You might butt heads at times -- it doesn't mean that you have any personal problems," Roethlisberger said in response to reports about a fractured relationship with Haley.

Pressed about whether Haley's work was satisfactory, Tomlin said he wouldn't have definitive answers as a way to avoid any misinformation. Tomlin's criteria for evaluating his coaches include overall performance and team record but goes beyond a coach's capabilities.

"What you're willing to do is what defines you and what you're willing to do on a consistent basis -- how selfless are you?" Tomlin said. "How willing are you to put our goals and agenda in front of anything that might be on your checklist or to-do list?"