For the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans, it’s impossible not to get excited over the prospect of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger making a successful recovery, and to do so as soon as possible. He is seemingly ahead of schedule, advanced to throwing footballs, rather than ‘light throwing’, following surgery to repair an elbow injury that ended hi 2019 season after just a game and a half’s worth of play.
While it’s great, naturally, to see Roethlisberger making significant and tangible progress, it’s also necessary to urge caution and plead for patience, which is why I recently posited a Buy or Sell statement as to whether or not he will participate as soon as OTAs in a throwing capacity.
While general manager Kevin Colbert declined to comment on any sort of specifics, he did send out this general message while speaking with Missi Matthews after meeting with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine yesterday.
“We’re excited about that, but we’re also realistic and understand that he doesn’t have to be on that football field to play until September”, he said of Roethlisberger’s recovery timeline, “so we want to make sure that he understands that and that he takes the proper steps and doesn’t get too far ahead of himself”.
The team reporter asked Colbert if he felt that Roethlisberger might be the sort of player whom they may have to hold back from pushing himself too quickly. “No doubt”, he said. “Coach always uses the term, ‘we’d like to say ‘whoa’ more than ‘sic ‘em’, and in the case with Ben, sure, because he is anxious to get back there. But he understands it. He’s a smart guy, he’s a veteran guy. He understands the rehab more than maybe a young player that’s never had a significant injury. So he’ll know how to do it”.
It has been reported, though without team verification, that Roethlisberger could possibly expect to receive ‘total clearance’ within the next two and a half to three months, which would put him on a timeline that would make him eligible to participate during OTAs and the team’s mandatory minicamp, which begin some time in the middle of May, typically.
But how much is there to be gained in May by Roethlisberger throwing some footballs on air to his wide receivers, versus the potential risk of something happening? Ultimately, there will be a collaborative decision made between the team’s medical staff and head coach Mike Tomlin as to how soon and how significantly he will resume football participation.