Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers suffered a serious knee injury late in the team’s playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and during an interview on Steelers Nation Radio a few days ago, the former undrafted free agent out of Louisville updated his rehab status now that he’s a few weeks removed from surgery.
“It’s coming along great,” Rogers said of his knee. “I’m just taking it a day at a time. It’s getting stronger though, I’m at a pretty good flexion and extension degree right now. So, it’s coming along good. Just a day at a time.”
The timing of Rogers’ knee injury certainly wasn’t good for him on many levels and especially with him set to become a restricted free agent at the start of the new league year in March. While he said during the interview that he’s disappointed in the timing of his injury, he isn’t overly worried when it comes to his immediate NFL future.
“I’m not worried about it because the eye in the sky don’t lie and you know, I’ve done all I can do,” Rogers said. “That’s kinda like the supernatural stuff that happened, you know. You never really try to worry about the supernatural.”
Rogers was asked to confirm if he believes he’s done enough over the course of the last two seasons for the Steelers, or any other team, to warrant signing him in the coming months as he finishes his injury rehab.
“Yeah, I do believe I put enough on tape in crucial moments for teams to be able to, or the Steelers, to take that chance with me and stick with me, or another team to come and try to pick me up or something like that,” Rogers said. “I do believe that I have put a decent amount on film and whether I made the play or not, I know I put some really good plays on film. So, yeah, I think I put enough on film. We’ll see though, we’ll see.”
In addition to suffering a torn ACL in his right knee near the end of the playoff loss to the Jaguars when he got tripped up by Jacksonville linebacker Telvin Smith away from a play, Rogers said during his recent interview that he also damaged the meniscus and that was also repaired when he underwent his surgery a few weeks ago. He went on to say that his injury is expected to sideline for four to six months and that he hopes to be ready for the start of training camp.
“Yeah, God willing I’ll be ready to go,” Rogers said.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the Steelers address Rogers’ situation this offseason. They could place a low right-of-first-refusal restricted tender on him in the coming weeks but such a move comes with a price tag of nearly $2 million. Had he not suffered his knee injury, it would be easy to speculate the Steelers maybe taking that route with him. That said, they might want to wait and see how he recovers from his knee injury before signing him and the same goes for other teams that might be interested in him. In the meantime, Rogers hope is that he can stay with the Steelers at least one more season.
“I would love to be back here,” Rogers said. “It’s a great, great city, great fans, the best fans in the league, like, really. I believe that, I’m a firm believer. And we have a great offense, great players and great guys on the team. So you know, I’d love to come back here, but it’s solely based on the coaches and however that process goes.”
Despite him wanting to be back with the Steelers in 2018, Rogers knows he could potentially wind up with a different team next season and one that would even give him a more defined and bigger role.
“Yeah, potentially,” Rogers said.
In his two healthy seasons with Steelers, Rogers has registered 66 total receptions for 743 yards and 4 touchdowns in the 27 total regular season games that he’s dressed for. He only had 18 catches during the 2017 regular season, however, but did return 19 punts for 146 yards, although he did have one fumble early in the year against the Chicago Bears.
Even if Rogers does re-sign with the Steelers during the offseason, he won’t be considered a lock to make the final 53-man roster later in the summer and especially if Pittsburgh ultimately draft another wide receiver in the coming months. In the meantime, it’s important for him to get healthy as quick as he possibly can in order to ensure he’ll be ready for the start of training camp in late July.