Steelers News

Maurkice Pouncey: Big Ben Already Talking ‘Trying To Get Back For OTAs’, Says Elbow Has Been Sore For Years

There is no getting around the fact that the 2019 season is going to be a curious one for the Pittsburgh Steelers after they have been charged to go the remaining 14 games of the regular season schedule without their franchise quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, on the field with them.

Roethlisberger left Sunday’s game at halftime with an elbow issue that had him visibly grimacing and clutching his arm multiple times during the second quarter, even though he had not apparently sustained any direct force to his throwing arm.

It was determined by an MRI the following day that, whatever the specific nature of the injury is, it was indeed season-ending and would require surgery in order for him to be able to return to play at a high level again. Roethlisberger still has two years remaining on his contract beyond this season and has already stated that he intends to fulfill them.

Maurkice Pouncey is his closest friend on the team. He spoke to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN yesterday about Roethlisberger, saying that he has dealt with soreness in his elbow for a few years now. “He’s thrown a lot of football passes”, he said, including a league- and career-high 675 last year. “Eventually it wears down on you”.

However, the All-Pro center also said that Roethlisberger was already talking to him about the future, even before he has surgery to repair the damage in his elbow. “He was talking about coming back and being ready, trying to get back for OTAs, minicamp, and obviously he doesn’t have to throw until training camp”, Fowler quoted him as saying”.

While it’s a good sign that Roethlisberger is able to speak in that manner, we obviously won’t know a clearer prognosis, as head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday, until after he has the surgery, which at that time had not yet been scheduled.

Many have been quick to raise the doom-and-gloom scenario that this is the end for Roethlisberger as a franchise quarterback, that their Super Bowl window is closed, that even if he ever returns, he’ll never be the same again. He’s too old. He’s too worn down. And, hey, he’s talked about retirement before.

“It can’t feel like a new era until he walks away”, Pouncey said. Both of them signed two-year contract extensions this offseason running through 2021, and both have said in the past that they intend to retire together.

“Until then, this city is Big Ben. It’s Roethlisberger’s team. I know [Mason Rudolph] is going in there and he has to take the team in his hands right now, but overall you can never say it’s not Ben’s team until he’s retired”.

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