They call him ‘Big’ Ben for a reason, and it isn’t only for his 6-foot, 4-inch height, but also Ben Roethlisberger’s overall frame.
Roethlisberger never has been the thinnest of quarterbacks to grace the NFL, but it doesn’t mean he’s less effective at his job. However, with Roethlisberger entering his 15th NFL season, it was time for him to take charge and lose some weight.
In the past, Roethlisberger has come into camp thinner than in previous years, but this year he claims to be in the best shape for quite some time. What changed? Roethlisberger worked with a trainer all offseason, had a nutritionist monitor his diet — cutting out excessive carbohydrates and sugars — and focused on the goal of shedding some weight to alleviate stress on his knees.
Whether this equals a better, more mobile, Ben Roethlisberger is yet to be seen, but Mike Tomlin was happy to see his starting quarterback come into camp in great shape.
“We always say physical conditioning precedes anything else. So when a guy shows up in great shape, that’s often a springboard for big-time play.”
Roethlisberger is coming off of an above-average statistical season, throwing for 4,251 yards, 28 TDs and 14 INTs, but even he knows — the older he gets, the more he needs to focus on his body and keeping it in top physical shape.
“As we get older, including everyone out here, we need to get healthier.” Roethlisberer said during his media scrum.
When asked what difference he feels so far, his lower extremities were the first thing he cited as having changed.
“My knees, ankles...just being lighter. Those are all positives when it comes to playing this game at this age. Football is a sport where you are always pounding on your knees. When you’ve already had a couple knee surgeries, anything you can do to lighten the load on your knees and ankles is important,” Roethlisberger added.
Ben’s health obviously is of the utmost importance for the Steelers this season, and being more mobile and healthy very well could be a catalyst for this team. It might translate to Roethlisberger and company being better than they were a year ago in a variety of ways.
In a year when it’s almost a foregone conclusion the offense needs to carry this team, Roethlisberger being healthier than he’s been in years entering training camp certainly is a huge step in the right direction.
You never know, maybe Tomlin’s ‘springboard’ analogy could be spot on for the Black-and-gold offense.