Outside of the simple mystery of whether or not he will be able to return to play in 2020, arguably the most-discussed topic concerning Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has simply been whether or not he is actually in shape.
Aside from the fact that such a question, once he became injured, immediately became irrelevant for the better part of the next year since he wouldn’t be playing in a game again any time soon, most of our instances of witnessing Roethlisberger have been images of him with a large, bushy beard and wearing appropriately heavy winter clothing that obviously gives the wearer the appearance of greater bulk.
The closest we have seen Roethlisberger looking like Roethlisberger was during a four-second video that the team’s social media account posted of the quarterback throwing a football for the first time since he last grasped his elbow on the field toward the end of the second quarter in the second game of the 2019 season against the Seattle Seahawks. And even then, he wore multiple layers, including a pullover sweatshirt.
As should be no surprise, general manager Kevin Colbert was asked by local reporters to address claims of Roethlisberger being out of shape when he spoke to the media last month. “His physical shape is fine”, Brooke Pryor recently quoted as saying in an ESPN FAQ about the quarterback.
“In any offseason, we don’t see our players all the time — 90 percent of them aren’t in the building. So we don’t know where they are”, the Steelers general manager went on. “We’ll see where they are when they come back into the later phase of the offseason program. But I never worry about a player’s physical appearance in the offseason”.
Roethlisberger being ‘in the best shape of his career’ when training camp rolls around has been a story of somewhat annual tradition at this point, coming in second only to the spring reports of him looking as though he is out of shape.
He has, however, more recently taken a greater interest in retaining his physical fitness, which happened to coincide with his signing a very lucrative two-year contract extension last year. He hired a personal trainer to work with him in the offseason, for example.
It is nothing short of amusing that people have been worrying all the way back to October about whether or not Roethlisberger would be in playing shape come September of 2020. After you tear up your elbow, and have to have it surgically repaired, you are probably going to be somewhat limited in your exercise routine for a bit anyway. You certainly won’t be doing much lifting.