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Typically, the worst sources for news on player injuries are the players themselves.
You won’t often hear a player admit he’s hurt more than he’s letting on. It’s just not how it goes. That said, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he feels great, about six months after elbow surgery ended his 2019 season.
The Steelers hope Roethlisberger feels as good as he says. They don’t have much of a Plan B.
Ben Roethlisberger says he feels younger
Roethlisberger gave a positive report on his elbow to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ron Cook.
“I have no doubts I’m going to be able to come back and play well — none,” Roethlisberger told Cook. “I have complete confidence in that. I’m throwing without pain for the first time in years. Some games, I would have a little pain. Some games, I would have a lot of pain. But in the New England game and the Seattle game [last season], it got to be too much. To be able to throw without pain now? That feels nice. That’s a nice feeling. I know I’m not getting any younger, but I feel younger because I don’t have any pain.”
Roethlisberger had surgery on Sept. 23 and got permission from his surgeon to throw a football on Feb. 21. About a month later, Roethlisberger is still feeling good. Roethlisberger told Cook he’s at about 40 throws per session at 20 yards. He’ll go from two throwing sessions a week to three next week.
So far, so good, it seems.
Steelers need a healthy Roethlisberger
The Steelers were in a tricky spot. Roethlisberger just turned 38 years old and is coming off a surgery in which he had three flexor tendons reattached. Nobody should assume Roethlisberger won’t feel any effects from that, no matter how positive his words are at this point in the offseason. But it’s not like Pittsburgh had much choice but hope their quarterback is healthy. Roethlisberger’s new contract comes with dead-cap hits of $45 million in 2020 and $22.5 million in 2021 if the Steelers move on, and neither number would be feasible to carry. The Steelers need Roethlisberger to be his old self.
And Pittsburgh’s best option is still a healthy Roethlisberger. Mason Rudolph didn’t look like the answer when he replaced Roethlisberger last season and while Devlin Hodges had a couple promising moments, he’s unlikely to be a long-term answer either.
Roethlisberger says he’s fine and feels younger without pain in his elbow. The Steelers hope he’s right.
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