PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – After coming up just short of their goal, Pittsburgh Steelers team president Art Rooney II is assessing the season and looking forward to the future.

Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers have been eliminated from the playoffs, team president Art Rooney II talks about his assessment on the season, and what’s to come for the team.

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Rooney sat down for an exclusive TV interview with KDKA Sports Director Bob Pompeani to talk about a variety of subjects.

The Steelers came up one step short in their goal of getting to the Super Bowl, and that leads them into an offseason of roster decisions.

Rooney says he was surprised when he first heard that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger might retire.

“A little surprised when I first heard it, but he came through a long season, and a disappointing loss, and I think some of that was just on his mind.”
Rooney says he thinks Ben will be back and that the two of them had a good conversation after the season.

He’s hoping that Roethlisberger will make a decision on whether not he’s going to return or not soon.

With Ben’s announcement pending, the Steelers may look to add a quarterback during the draft.

“I think we were at that point, in terms of wanting to make sure we have depth at that position anyway. We’ll see what Ben’s decision is first, and then go from there to see where it affects this year’s planning,” Rooney said. “You do have to pick a quarterback every once in a while, you just have to have that kind of depth on the roster at that position.”

Rooney talked about backup quarterback Landry Jones and his pending free agency this season.

“I think Landry is going to look at his options. We like Landry, and to the extent that he wants to come back here, we’ll consider it.”

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Pompeani asked Rooney about Antonio Brown’s antics towards the end of the year, and Rooney says they want Brown on the team.

“Antonio is a great player, one of the best receivers in the league, and we’d like to have him on our team,” Rooney said. “Whatever distractions he’s had are things, he’s willing to talk about, Antonio is someone you can sit down and have a conversation with, and he listens.”

“We’re comfortable with having AB on the team, and would like to have him on to the team into the future, and we’ll approach his contract that way.”

Le’Veon Bell is in the same boat, Rooney says they’d like to see him back long term as well.

“Le’Veon had a great year, in a lot of ways, was the horse that carried the team down the stretch. Had some record setting days. It was a pretty remarkable year for Le’Veon. We’re anxious to have him back certainly for next year and beyond.”

Rooney talked about Le’Veon possibly having to undergo groin surgery this offseason.

“From the sounds of things, it doesn’t sound like an unusual surgery. I don’t think we’re looking at something that will impact him going into next year.”

Le’Veon is a young running back, at only 24-years of age.

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“We think he has a lot left in the tank, and look forward to having him with us for a number of years to come.”

RAW VIDEO: Steelers president Art Rooney II on Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell and the future of both stars:

One player who the Steelers were hoping to have contribute this year is Martavis Bryant.

Rooney says the team hasn’t had much contact with Bryant following his year long suspension.

“The truth of the matter is we haven’t had much contact with Martavis at all, there’s process he has to go through first with the league, so there’s going to be some catching up to do,” Rooney said. “Martavis has tremendous potential, and we’ll see, hopefully he’s got the right frame of mind to be a serious football player and take advantage of that potential.”

RAW VIDEO: Steelers president Art Rooney II talks about the future of Martavis Bryant:

Rooney talked about keeping an eye on the New England Patriots and other football teams in the AFC when it comes to building their roster.

“We can’t put the roster together with our eye on just one team. We have to start from scratch every year, and build a team that we think can win the AFC North first, and allows us to be in the playoffs. You have to be careful on focusing on just one team.”

As for the future and looking into the off season, Rooney says the team will be busy over the next week.

“Our coaches self-scout, and critique the games, as well as get ready for this year’s draft and free agency. You’re looking at film all the time, trying to figure out what you can do best, and how to attack another team’s scheme. There’s a lot of work like that that goes on, not just during the season, but during the off season.”

Rooney talked about the job that coach Mike Tomlin did this season, going from a 4-5 record to rattling off nine straight wins.

“Year number ten, Mike’s record speaks for itself. He’s one of the top coaches in the league, statistically he’s one of the top coaches in the league,” Rooney said. “I always think the key to evaluating a coach and coaching staff is to look and see if the team is improving as the season goes on, and I think we did that this year.”

“I think we have a good staff, we have coaches that have contracts to get worked out, but the bottom line is we have a good staff and I don’t expect too much turnover this year.”

Former Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw made some questionable comments about coach Tomlin during the season, and Bob asked him if he was surprised by those.

“I was a little surprised about Terry’s comments about coach Tomlin, but to be honest with you, Terry’s made some comments down throughout the years that I’ve scratched my head. Terry’s a great part of Steelers history, and he gets paid to make comments that get attention, so I understand that,” Rooney said. “Someday we’ll try to catch up with Terry and have a conversation and see what he’s thinking.”

As for the Super Bowl, Bob asked Art if he’s rooting for a team in the big game?

“I root for a good game number one. I do think this is an interesting matchup. Atlanta is a strong team, it will be interesting to see if they can withstand the challenge of being in a Super Bowl. They’re up against the Patriots who have been there a lot,” Rooney said. “I’m hoping it’s a good game. On paper it’s a pretty good matchup.”

RAW VIDEO: Steelers president Art Rooney II talks about the rivalry with the Patriots, and the upcoming Super Bowl:

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