Going all the way back to the NFL Scouting Combine in February, we heard from Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert suggesting that it was possible we might see a better Ben Roethlisberger this season after coming back from a severe elbow injury that limited him to six quarters of play in 2019 and resulted in surgery to reattach threw tendons.
That remark was met with a good deal of skepticism when he first said it, but hearing about Roethlisberger throwing in training camp and listening to him talk about the way he feels, it’s really starting to get much more believable.
In fact, while speaking to reporters earlier today, he seemed to strongly hint at the fact that he plans to practice more extensively this year than he has in the past—after over a decade of dealing with pain from a minor tear in his elbow that finally snapped in September.
“It’s felt really good”, he said about his elbow now several weeks into training camp. “We’ve always, for the last handful of years, we’ve kind of done the same routine with a full day, half day, off day. And I even went three days in a row last week, and it’s been feeling really good”.
While he acknowledged that he still needs that day off every once in a while just to rest his throwing arm over general fatigue, he said that “it’s amazing how fast it bounces back and feels great the next day”.
“I feel very confident”, he continued, “going into a regular-season schedule where we get Tuesdays off and Friday is a half day, Saturday’s a travel-type day. So those kinds of scheduled days off throughout the regular season, I think, are going to be perfect”.
Ordinarily, Roethlisberger would not throw on Wednesdays, then go full on Thursdays and half on Fridays during the regular season. He had a similar schedule in training camp as well, after doing little throwing this offseason. He’s thrown far more balls over the past several months than he has in surely a very long time.
“I have no dull aches, no pain” in his elbow when he throws anymore, he said. “Like I said, if I throw it two or three days in a row real heavy, I’ll just get some fatigue, but I think that’s pretty normal. No more sharp pains or dull pains or anything in that elbow. So I’m very thankful for that”.
What does this mean for Ben Roethlisberger the quarterback in 2020? We won’t know that exactly until the games start up, of course, but perhaps it’s not so far-fetched after all that he could return in better shape than he was before the injury.