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Pittsburgh — As a general philosophy, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin treats each individual season as its own unique entity, with no direct through line from one to the next.

Considering his quarterback’s current state of mind, probably a good idea.

While Tomlin believes the Steelers have a “championship caliber” team a couple of days removed from an ugly blowout loss to New England in the AFC title game, his franchise’s most important player isn’t guaranteeing a return in 2017. Roethlisberger said during his weekly appearance on 93.7 The Fan he needs time to reflect before coming back for a 14th season.

“I’m going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options, to consider health and family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season, if there’s going to be a next season, all those things,” Roethlisberger said.

Roethlisberger will turn 35 in March and is under contract through 2020. Knee injuries have forced him to miss time in each of the last two seasons and while Pittsburgh ripped off nine straight wins on its way to the AFC North title and its first appearance in the NFL’s final four in six years, Roethlisberger wasn’t terribly sharp.

He threw 10 interceptions over Pittsburgh’s final seven games, though the two-time Super Bowl winner didn’t receive much help on Sunday against the Patriots — in the worst postseason loss of his career.

While Roethlisberger cautioned he’s “not by any means saying he’s not coming back,” the father of three considered it “prudent” to take a step back before deciding if he has the energy to make another push.

That’s fine by Tomlin, who wasn’t alarmed by Roethlisberger’s admission mostly because they’ve had similar discussions in the past.

“That’s football,” Tomlin said. “Obviously I’m hopeful that he returns and the potential of his return or not returning will weigh heavily on our planning.

“That’s life. He’s the most significant component of what it is that we do. We’ll plan and react accordingly.”

Roethlisberger is one of three Steelers remaining from the team that beat Seattle in the Super Bowl 11 years ago at Detroit’s Ford Field.

Extra points

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has opened up a bit on his friendship with President Donald Trump.

The night before his Friday inauguration, Trump mentioned in a speech attended by Patriots owner Robert Kraft Brady had called to congratulate him.

When asked whether he called the Republican, Brady told Boston radio station WEEI-FM on Monday that “I have called him in the past, yes” and added “sometimes he calls me, sometimes I call him.”

... Lopsided contests didn’t prevent the NFL conference championship games from reaching more than 45 million television viewers each on Sunday.

The Nielsen company said 47.95 million people watched the Patriots beat the Steelers in the AFC game. The Falcons’ victory over the Packers in the NFC game was seen by 46.28 million.

... Johnny Manziel deleted his Twitter account after the Heisman Trophy winner sent expletive-laden messages telling President Donald Trump to ignore comments about him on the social media site.

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