The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2019 season came to a disappointing halt with an 8-8 record after losing three straight games to close out the campaign. If there was a theme throughout the season for the black-and-gold, it was like adversity through injury.
Whether it was Ben Roethlisberger’s elbow injury, Stephon Tuitt’s pectoral injury, both season-ending injuries, or James Conner’s inability to stay healthy and JuJu Smith-Schuster missing time for both a concussion and knee injury.
There were injuries across the board, and the team now turns to the offseason to rest and rehabilitate. Thankfully, there are no additional surgeries on the docket for any player this offseason.
This per Mike Tomlin in his end of the season press conference Tuesday:
“From a health standpoint, there probably is not a lot of new things to discuss with you guys as I stand here today. Many of the surgeries and things that need to transpire already have and you guys have gotten updates along the way about guys who have been injured. We are starting the process of exit physicals. We have had some minor injuries and so forth as it relates to game 16. Ankles and so forth. Nothing that appears to be surgical at this time. The rehabilitation element of it is not under any type of a clock. I don’t think any of the things that happened this past weekend is worth mentioning in this setting from a surgery standpoint. Not any surgery schedule based on information that we have here.”
Having players who don’t have to worry about something like a shoulder injury, the recovery and rehab, means the team can continue to work on improving themselves this offseason to make 2020 a better year than 2019. But there are some players who are still having to forge their way through rehabilitation of some kind.
“Obviously, some guys who have gone through some health things like Ben [Roethlisberger], who are in the process of rehabilitation, will have some significant updates along the way.” Tomlin said Tuesday. “Check ups that allow them to move in different areas of rehabilitation. We are going to get some clarity about some of those things I am sure in the upcoming days and weeks, whether you are talking about Ben or Stephon Tuitt and guys like that or others. I don’t have a lot of clarity on those kinds of things in terms of their next significant update and what that might mean, but I will be gaining some of that.”
Getting all players back and healthy for 2020 is paramount for the Steelers, but that isn’t the challenge. The challenge is clearly keeping them healthy. In the physical game of football that is a near impossibility, but when you look around the NFL and see other teams who are staying relatively healthy you have to wonder if there isn’t something the Steelers could be doing better to keep their players available for more of the 16-game season.
Either way, the team now has another lengthy break to not just lick their wounds, but to mentally prepare for the next grueling season which will start in the early spring with minicamp, then pick up again when the boys go back to Latrobe, PA for training camp.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they head into the offseason.