As Ben Roethlisberger stepped in front of a camera for a virtual group press conference, the first time talking to reporters since his season ended in Week 2 of the 2019 season, he admitted he felt nervous.
He has answered questions a million times in his career, but 2019 was the first year he was sidelined for the remainder of a season due to an injury. Once Roethlisberger got comfortable in this unique setting, he opened up about his elbow, mainly how the injury had bothered him for years.
This from Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Ben Roethlisberger’s first words with the media in 10-plus months, talking about his elbow injury Week 2 last season pic.twitter.com/MbNF2QdSSt— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) August 4, 2020
After Roethlisberger was lost for the season last year, several of his offensive linemen told media this wasn’t a new injury. How it was something the quarterback had been dealing with for a long time.
But no one had heard it form Roethlisberger himself...until now.
In the game against the Seahawks in Week 2 at Heinz Field, Roethlisberger detailed what it felt like, and how he knew something wasn’t right. This is per Brooke Pryor of ESPN:
Roethlisberger said he dealt with the elbow injury for a couple years, but it was never serious to do anything about.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 4, 2020
Said on the deep attempt to JuJu v Seattle he felt a different pain and discomfort "it was shooting down my arm. I knew something was different at that moment."
Even though the injury ended his 2019 season, Roethlisberger did not feel like he was finished with his NFL career. This per Missi Matthews of Steelers.com:
I've had no set backs and it's felt really, really good - Ben on throwing 2-3 days a week— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) August 4, 2020
Monday was an important day for Roethlisber. As veterans reported to training camp for workouts and walk-throughs, it was the first time he has put his arm through a regular practice. Sure, he had thrown a couple days a week leading up to training camp, but nothing like the workout he went through at Heinz Field.
The result? He woke up Tuesday feeling “great”.
#Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger says, “My arm feels really good. I threw a lot of balls yesterday.” Waking up today? “It feels great.” Says he’s been throwing more this offseason than usual. But still... he will have a “pitch count” during this unusual camp.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) August 4, 2020
It is now when the medical personnel, and coaching staff, will have to monitor Roethlisberger moving forward. Clearly, the surgery was a success, and his rehabilitation has been positive to date. However, working him back and getting his arm ready for the rigors of a regular season are two completely different things.
In fact, when asked Roethlisberger spoke about why no one within the Steelers organization ever called the injury a Tommy John surgery. Why? Because, according to Roethlisberger, there is no name for the surgery he underwent last year.
Roethlisberger on the exact surgery: "I'm not a doctor and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night ... there's no real name for it. It's not a Tommy John."— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 4, 2020
Says he tore three flexor tendons off the bone. They reattached it. Says never happened to QB to this magnitude
This offseason many compared Roethlisberger’s injury to the injury Jale Delhomme suffered while he was quarterbacking the Panthers, but Roethlisberger made it seem as if his injury truly was unique in every way.
The good news here is how all reports coming from the doctors, coaching staff and now Roethlisberger are just that — good news. If this trend continues into the 2020 regular season, it is safe to say the Steelers should be considered more contenders than pretenders as they set their sights on a seventh Lombardi trophy for their trophy case.