‘No Hesitation’ Predicting Roethlisberger Will Start Week 1, Says Tomlin

Though we’re still four days away from Ben Roethlisberger’s critical check-up with doctors, Mike Tomlin is confident when the time comes, #7 will be ready for Week #1.

His appearance on First Take today largely revolved around the Mason Rudolph/Myles Garrett saga, Stephen A. Smith managed to squeeze in one question about Roethlisberger. He asked Tomlin if he felt comfortable his quarterback will be healthy and ready for the 2020 opener.

“I have no hesitation,” Tomlin told the show. “I base that opinion on my experience and relationship with him and being around him for the number of years that I have. This guy is the ultimate competitor. He’s dropped the gauntlet down. He’s made a statement that he’s coming back and I look forward to watching him answer that challenge.”

Tomlin also added Roethlisberger looks “great’ but joked he isn’t doing much right now. Roethlisberger was spotted over the weekend attending a West Virginia basketball game and he seemed to have full movement of that injured right arm, a positive though small hint of progress.

The goal for his check-up on Friday is to get cleared by doctors to begin light throwing. If he does, that may put him on track to throw during spring OTAs and mini-camp. By training camp, he could be fully cleared, though it’ll be interesting to see how much of a workload he receives given his age and severity of the injury.

Either way, all news out of the Steelers’ camp has been positive. News from doctors is still most important but so far, there’s nothing to make anyone believe Roethlisberger won’t fully recover from his injury and be ready to go to start 2020. As Tomlin indicated, Big Ben’s remained adamant about not only playing in 2020 but honoring his contract, which runs through 2021.

The obvious concern is the limited history we have to judge his rehab and return. There haven’t been many nearly-40 year old quarterbacks who have suffered these types of serious arm injuries. So Roethlisberger and the organization are in uncharted waters. But modern medicine is a beautiful thing and it’s clear the Steelers are taking a careful, pragmatic approach to his rehab and recovery.

In the end, Tomlin’s confident prediction is likely to come true.

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