There will be no on-field, in-person OTAs this year. At least, not any time soon, and certainly not when it was scheduled to commence, in the middle of May. Even the 2020 NFL Draft was just announced to be entirely virtual.
Yet if we were living under normal circumstances, and could safely gather without risk of infecting one another with a deadly virus, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger believes he would have been able to go out on the field and participate at some level. That is what he recently told Ed Bouchette for The Athletic.
“I was going to be ready to go for OTAs and the minicamps”, he told Bouchette. “That was going to be the plan. Now I don’t know how much I was going to do, I don’t know if I was going to be doing team stuff or stuff like that, but I would have been definitely going to be out there ready to go”.
Roethlisberger has been doing some light throwing with a football since late February after he was cleared to do so following a medical checkup. The team has said that the biggest thing they are watching for in terms of his recovery from September elbow surgery is the amount of spin that he is able to put on the ball when he throws it.
He is throwing footballs embedded with microchips for that reason. “It reads the spin rate and reads the velocity and reads the spiral efficiency”, he said. “All these things. We did it actually in training camp in 2018 so it’s actually cool, we have a baseline from a couple of years ago so we can compare, see where we are”.
The 38-year-old went on to talk about how, due to the nature of the offseason this year, he and his team have actively decided to dial things back, and that his doctor is being “ultra-conservative”. When speaking about his throwing, he said that he is throwing at about 60 percent capacity, something “that’s just me choosing to be at that number”, saying that “I know I can let it go and throw”.
Everything continues to be positive on the Roethlisberger front as he works his way back from his first major injury of his professional career—at least the first one that robbed him of a season. He only played the first six quarters of his 16th season in 2019 before succumbing to the pain and damage of a chronic elbow injury that had been building for some time.
He and the team remain optimistic about his ability to return to full capacity in 2020, with general manager Kevin Colbert even suggesting that he may be able to return better than before because he had this damage repaired and largely did not participate last season, saving a good amount of wear and tear on his body.