Kevin Colbert raised some eyebrows when he floated the idea Ben Roethlisberger could come back from major elbow surgery better than before it. But Roethlisberger seems to be saying the same thing, telling the Post-Gazette’s Ron Cook his elbow feels pain free for the first time in years.
“I’m throwing without pain for the first time in years,” he told Cook. “Some games, I would have a little pain. But in the New England game and the Seattle game [last season], it got to be too much.”
After his season-ending elbow surgery, some Steelers said Roethlisberger complained of pain in his elbow after the Week 1 loss to New England. Pittsburgh would be fined by the league for failing to disclose the injury.
Coming off a 2018 season where he threw the ball a league-high 670 times, it’s not a shock to see his elbow give out the way that it did. Having a season off, getting the surgery he needed, are silver linings to a lost season. Making Roethlisberger feel confident he will return 100%.
“I have no doubts I’m going to be able to come back and play well — none. I have complete confidence in that.”
That confidence is something the team has expressed every step of the way. There’s every reason to believe he’ll be ready for training camp and Week One of the regular season, though it’ll be interesting to see how they handle his workload in the months and weeks leading up to the opener.
Roethlisberger told Cook he’s now throwing from his knees and flat-footed about 40 times a day, passes travelling 20 yards. They aren’t NFL velocity throws – yet – but his goal is to get there soon enough. Not too soon, of course, and he recognized the importance of taking his time, especially with the current uncertainty of the NFL’s timetable. At the least, offseason workout programs will be rescheduled or postponed entirely.
“Our goal was for me to be 80, 90, 100% by OTAs and minicamp. Now that it looks like those things are going to be canceled [because of the COVID-19 pandemic], I can take my time a little more.”
Roethlisberger will be able to take all the time he needs. But when the team needs him for Sundays, it’s all but certain he’ll be ready.