Ben Roethlisberger says he's unsure if he's healthy enough to play in the Pro Bowl, but was healthy enough to play at the end of the year

Karl Walter

While his questionable status for the Pro Bowl (both by his own words and by his alternate status) is curious, how many more years are the Steelers going to play in late season must-win games with a quarterback who says he was injured after the fact?

"Hey Ben, how's it going?" a fictional conversation with the Steelers starting quarterback began.

"Not bad, man, not bad. Bummed about the end of the season, that's for sure."

"Yeah? Well that's no good. What happened out there"

"I'm fine, but I don't know if I'm healthy enough to play in the Pro Bowl. My immediate goal is to get healthy first and foremost. I already started to formulate a plan with [conditioning coach] Garrett Giemont to get my body better and ready to go."

"Wait, you were healthy enough to play in a Week 16 do-or-die game in late December, but you're not sure if you're healthy enough to play in an exhibition game?"

Roethlisberger has no answer to that fictional question, it seems. It does toe the line of annoyance, though. Roethlisberger, a second alternate to the 2013 Pro Bowl, certainly doesn't need to play in the Pro Bowl, healthy or otherwise, and his warrior-like mentality to continue playing despite injury is compelling.

It's now bordering on pointless. It's pointless in the sense this is basically what we heard last year. "I was injured, blah blah blah" and "Maybe I came back too soon, yada yada yada."

As Robby Hart said, "things that should have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!"

It's understandable why Roethlisberger has the ability to make a fist and squeeze the nether regions of the Steelers; he's the big money, franchise quarterback. But perhaps this kind of issue is why Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made such an issue of back-up QB Byron Leftwich "communicated well" in regards to his injury during the Steelers' Week 11 loss to Baltimore.

Roethlisberger may have been closer to "injured" than "healthy" over the Steelers' last three games of the 2012 season. Players have to play through a certain amount of pain as part of the daily grind of this game. I've contended Roethlisberger looked more mentally damaged than physically over the stretch run this year (backed up by Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who said the plan was to get after Roethlisberger because he can be rattled if pressure is applied early).

The Steelers saw two lose-and-it's-over games in the last two seasons played by an injured or battered Roethlisberger. It stands to reason the team is going to think about this when searching through mountains of film and statistical breakdowns in preparing their offseason game plan.

And his comments in regards to being too injured to play in the Pro Bowl aside (likely made in avoidance of the game), it's fair to point out Roethlisberger did play in the annual all-star game last season, just a few weeks after limping through a mediocre performance against Denver in the AFC Wild Card round of the playoffs.

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