By the time Ben Roethlisberger went down with a season-ending elbow injury in the middle of week two last year, we already learned that it wasn’t necessarily an issue that came up out of nowhere. Earlier this offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback acknowledged that it stems back to a small tendon tear that he has dealt with through most of his professional career, and that managing the pain had simply become part of the job.
Speaking to Pat Kirwan earlier this evening on SiriusXM Radio, however, he admitted that the pain he felt at the beginning of this year was different. Not just in the buildup to the Seattle Seahawks came in which his three tendons were ultimately torn, but throughout.
In the first game against the Patriots, it just never quite warmed up. You go through for as many years as I’ve dealt with the elbow, you would kind of feel the same sort of pain, but it would, go away. You get adrenaline and different things would kind of kick in and you wouldn’t feel it as much. And then I remember in that Patriot game, it just kinda never really went away. But it wasn’t the end of the world. I didn’t think much of it. I’ve been dealing with for a long time.
And then in Seattle, I didn’t feel it nearly as much early, but then on one particular throw early, it just felt completely different. It felt a lot different down my arm, and then I threw a couple more passes, threw a deep one to JuJu down the sideline, and I really felt it big time there. And I think I threw one more to the left to James Conner in the flat and went to the sideline and just didn’t know what to think honestly, on the field.
I knew I’d felt a pain that I’d never felt before and it felt a lot more severe and a lot different. So I was definitely concerned, and when I got over to see Dr. Bradley, I kind of told him what I was feeling, and he just gave me this look that I don’t see from him too often and basically told me I can’t let you go back in the game. That was kind of devastating because I don’t like hearing that. I don’t hear those words very often from him.
It was a scary moment for all of Steelers nation. Frankly, we were left wondering if we’d just seen Roethlisberger throw his last past, and began contemplating how long it would be before they would find another franchise quarterback.
Instead, Roethlisberger is back under center. “Fast forward to today, I feel great”, he said. “I haven’t had any pain in my elbow for the first time in a long, long time”. And he’s even talking about continuing to play football beyond his current contract, for as long as he feels he is able.
Of course, he has to get through the 2020 season first. He has been ramping up his arm all offseason, but he hasn’t gone through a game yet. He hasn’t taken a real hit, let alone several dozen hits.