Bryant McFadden was drafted one year after Ben Roethlisberger, and spent six of his seven NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers as the big quarterback’s teammate, last playing in 2011. That year, he suffered an injury in the season opener, which led to William Gay taking over his starting spot for the remainder of the year.
Following his playing career, he entered the world of the media, and has been working with CBS Sports as an analyst. He recently weighed in on his take regarding his former teammate, and his former team, as they head into a season coming off an 8-8 year, in which Roethlisberger missed 14 games due to an elbow injury that required surgery.
“I think he’s gonna look good. I think he’s gonna be explosive”, he said. “I think you’re looking at Ben so far, leading up to training camp, you can tell he’s in pretty good shape. He’s slimmed down a bit. And I’m hearing that that arm should be stronger than it was before the injury, which is a good sign based on what they have surrounding him at the pass-catching position”.
While it has never been disclosed what the exact nature of his elbow injury way, nor were details provided regarding the surgery that he had to correct the issue, reports about his recovery process have been consistently positive, which was highlighted by a ‘reveal’ video in February showing that he was ahead of schedule and throwing footballs again.
A second video later in the offseason marked another foundational moment in his recovery in which he was seen throwing with velocity to some of his teammates, his pass catchers declaring, ‘he’s back’. He then shaved his beard, which he promised that he would not trim until he was capable of throwing an NFL pass again.
Now that he is capable of throwing an NFL pass again, it’s a matter of him throwing 500-600 of them over the course of the next several months, because durability will be one of the surviving concerns, as McFadden is aware.
“Hopefully he can remain healthy throughout the year, because the structure that’s currently there on the offense, looking at the offensive line, the experience, those guys have played together for quite some time, having a healthy James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster would be big. And not to mention, those two guys are playing for contracts, so they really have to take this year extremely serious”, he said.
“I think Big Ben’s gonna put up big-time numbers. He’s gonna do numbers, and including, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Big Ben being in that Comeback Player of the Year conversation at the end of the season”.