The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Ben Roethlisberger will return to play with no ill effects from his 2019 elbow injury.
Explanation: After announcing that his 2019 season is going to come to an end because of the need for surgery on his elbow to allow him to play football at the level he needs to play, Ben Roethlisberger also said that he plans to come back in 2020 as strong as ever, and to play out his contract, which runs through 2021.
We already know that it can be done. Jake Delhomme’s similar injury has already been referenced. After suffering an elbow injury in October of 2007, he came back and led the Panthers to a 12-4 record the following year, starting every game.
While he has never had an injury this significant, Roethlisberger has always responded well to injuries, at least after a game or two. He’ll have an entire offseason, nearly an entire year, to recover from this surgery and rehabilitate his arm.
Meanwhile, he’ll get plenty of rest after throwing 675 times the year before the lead the NFL, among the most pass attempts in a single season in NFL history. He threw for over 5000 yards with a franchise-record 34 touchdowns, so it’s not like his career was coming to a close based on performance.
The thing is, we still don’t actually know the details, the specific nature of Roethlisberger’s injury, so we can’t necessarily make a one-to-one comparison with Delhomme’s situation. And even if we could, just because Delhomme did it doesn’t mean everybody will be able to.
Injuries are a tricky thing sometimes, and everybody responds to them, both physically and mentally, in different ways. An injury to a quarterback’s throwing arm is always a cause for concern regardless of the severity, as long as it’s serious enough to cause him to miss time.