The season opens on Thursday, September 7 in Foxboro. Here's a look at each of the Patriots' opponents this season and what they've done in the offseason.
Ben Roethlisberger will return to the NFL for a 14th season.
Earlier this offseason, Roethlisberger had said that he was contemplating retiring.
“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,” he said on 93.7 The Fan.
Apparently, that reflection led the longtime Steelers quarterback to the decision to keep playing. He announced the decision from his Twitter account Friday.
Informed the team I am looking forward to my 14th season. Steeler Nation will get my absolute best! — Ben.— BigBen7.com (@_BigBen7) April 7, 2017
That account, by the way, oddly enough has a lot of sportswriters blocked. The account is not run by Roethlisberger himself, but that’s still super weird.
@FieldYates LOL wait why am I blocked by Ben Roethlisberger— Katie Nolan (@katienolan) April 7, 2017
Today I learned that I am BLOCKED by Ben Roethlisberger! I must investigate. pic.twitter.com/dvuwSi1HlV— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) April 7, 2017
Speaking to reporters at the NFL owners meetings in Arizona, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert touched briefly on the team’s unsuccessful attempt to lure Dont’a Hightower away from New England in free agency.
Hightower returned to the Patriots this month on a four-year, $43.5 million deal with $19 million guaranteed. He was also courted by the Jets and Steelers, among others, with his offer from the Jets reported to be the biggest before they reportedly pulled it due to physical concerns.
The Steelers also reportedly offered more money than the Patriots, with Jason La Canfora reporting that Pittsburgh offered more than $9 million annually. Hightower’s deal with the Pats pays him $8.7 million per year.
“We made an attempt [with Hightower], it didn’t work,” Colbert told reporters. “We’re fine. We move on. Vince Williams, we were very confident in Vince. That’s why we signed him to the extension last year. So that if we got to this point and Lawrence had left us, and we didn’t sign anybody from the outside, Vince was certainly capable of stepping up and being the next guy.”
Hightower is entering his sixth season with the Patriots, who selected him with the 25th overall pick in the 2012 draft.