Ben Roethlisberger didn't use the word retirement following the elimination of the Pittsburgh Steelers from the playoffs. 

Describing his emotions coming out of the game and walking off the field, Roethlisberger said, "Yeah it's tough, but I'm proud to play with these guys. God has blessed me with an ability to throw a football and has blessed me to play in the greatest city, in Pittsburgh, with the greatest fans and the greatest football team and players. And it has just been truly a blessing, and I'm so thankful to him for the opportunity that he's given me.

"Just a bunch of guys that fought for each other, that fought their butts off and just competed. It wasn't always pretty, but there are a lot of games that we found a way. I'm so proud of this group of men and the way they fight for each other, for the black and gold, for our fans. It's just been an honor to play with them."

Roethlisberger, who will turn 40 on March 2, has not formally announced his retirement from the league. But he had hinted as much even before the Steelers' final home game of the regular season in Week 17 when he said "all signs are pointing to this could be it.''