"I think we've been in that mindset for the last several years, that's what this business tells us to be in," Tomlin told NFL Network at last month's owners meetings. "We better start sharpening our sword in terms of evaluation of quarterbacks and what's available to us or potentially available to us, that's just due diligence."
"As an organization, we have been hopeful that Ben would return this year," Tomlin said on Friday in a release on the team's website. "Ben and I have had many conversations, and I understood at this point in his career he is going to have to think about his long-term future. There is no question Ben wants to win championships for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and we know he will do everything possible to lead our entire team to achieving that goal."