The Pittsburgh Steelers will get their future Hall of Fame quarterback back on the field in just a few weeks, and Ben Roethlisberger is slowly checking things off his to-do list to ensure he is comfortable heading into Week 1.
With no preseason, there is no way for Roethlisberger to be as prepared as possible before going to MetLife Stadium to play the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, but there are some things Roethlisberger is hoping to do before then to not be so nervous when the real bullets start flying.
The next hurdle, or to-do list item? Playing in a game.
This per Missi Matthews of Steelers.com as Roethlisberger spoke to media via Zoom on Thursday.
"Yes, and to try and not be too nervous." - Ben on if the playing in a real game is his next hurdle— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) August 27, 2020
Roethlisberger admitted he has been nervous this training camp at certain moments. He described having “jelly legs” during the team’s two minute drill the first time he stepped under center. This is understandable considering the last time Roethlisberger threw a competitive pass was in Week 2 at Heinz Field vs. the Seattle Seahawks.
The next thing on his agenda? Getting hit.
During the press conference, Roethlisberger said he spoke with T.J. Watt to try and “give him little bumps” to get him acclimated to the physicality of the game. Surprising to no one, Watt and others have all declined.
This per Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network:
#Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger jokes that he's tried talking TJ Watt into "giving him little bumps" so he can get used to be hit again. Shocker: He said no one's taken him up on it. ;-)— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) August 27, 2020
Roethlisberger might not be able to play in a game or get hit before the regular season starts, but it doesn’t mean he hasn’t been able to check some boxes throughout this weird 2020 Training Camp at Heinz Field.
Many were curious about Roethlisberger’s arm strength after having it surgically repaired last year, but it seems as if his arm is plenty strong after going through the rigors of training camp. Could it be even stronger? Roethlisberger has already said he threw some passes he was surprised were traveling as far as they were.
This per Mark Kaboly of The Athletic:
Roethlisberger said he threw a ball earlier in the week that he was going to come up short and it made it there. Said he is a little surprised that his arm is as good or maybe better that pre surgery— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) August 27, 2020
This from Dale Lolley of DKPittsburghSports.com:
Ben Roethlisberger said he's been pleasantly surprised at how good his arm strength has been. #Steelers #dkps— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 27, 2020
The discomfort in Roethlisberger’s elbow is something he has felt for years, but after having surgery he has been pain free in his elbow.
“No more sharp pains or dull pains in my elbow. I’m thankful for that.” Roethlisberger said via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Ben said he had been bothered by discomfort in his elbow for years. Not anymore. "No more sharp pains or dull pains in my elbow. I'm thankful for that."— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) August 27, 2020
To sum all of this up, it is so-far-so-good for Roethlisberger’s journey back to life in the NFL. I’m sure it all hasn’t been easy, but Roethlisberger is proving that if he has issues in 2020, his elbow won’t likely be one of them.
In the meantime, the Steelers are continuing to prepare for the regular season, and will have a simulated game coming up to get the team as game-ready as possible for when the games start counting.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news, commentary and film room breakdowns as the Steelers plow through training camp.