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Rooney Says Roethlisberger Played At High Level In 2020; Obstacles Are All Financial

With Pittsburgh Steelers’ Team President Art Rooney II saying earlier this week he wants Ben Roethlisberger back for 2021, it’s no surprise to now know he believes Roethlisberger played at a high level this past season. In a new Steelers.com article interviewing Rooney, he recapped Roethlisberger’s 2020 performance. 

“We think Ben played at a high level last year,” Rooney told Bob Labriola. “We won our division and set a franchise record for most consecutive wins to open a season, so there was a lot of good stuff.”

Like most other aspects of the team, the “good stuff” primarily came over the Steelers’ first 11 weeks, starting 11-0 for the first time in franchise history. Over that span, Roethlisberger completed more than 67% of his passes with 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He and the rest of the team faltered the remainder of the season, becoming the first team in NFL history to start 11-0 and still lose four regular season games. Over that final month, Roethlisberger completed just 61% of his throws with eight touchdowns to four picks. He then threw four interceptions in the Wild Card loss to the Cleveland Browns.

But Rooney brushed aside those concerns, specifically to those who questioned Roethlisberger’s lack of arm strength.

“We’re still confident he has the ability to [win]. His arm, I would say, is as strong or almost as strong as ever, so I think he’s certainly capable of getting the job done.”

As the numbers told us, Roethlisberger was one of the least-accurate deep ball throwers in the league last season though it wasn’t for a lack of trying. His 58 attempts were top-five in the league.

Though there have been times in the offseason where it seemed like Roethlisberger may not return, Rooney said those problems were entirely financial obstacles and had nothing to do with a lack of confidence in Roethlisberger’s ability.

“Part of the concern is putting a (competitive) team around him, and we had a good discussion about that. We know there are still a lot of pieces to the puzzle that still have to fall into place this season, and we’re hard at work trying to make that happen.”

The two sides will work out an extension before the new league year begins on March 17th. Rooney said he hopes it happens well before that deadline.

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