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Art Rooney II sees promise with the return of Ben Roethlisberger to the Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are saying all the right things, as it pertains to Ben Roethlisberger’s potential return.

NFL: AFC Wild Card Round-Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a tough spot, for multiple reasons. Their salary cap position is certainly not anything to write home about, their ability to add talent to a depleted roster seems limited, to say the least, and their franchise quarterback and the front office have seemingly been at odds about his return.

At this point everyone likely knows, barring something sudden, Ben Roethlisberger will be back under center, or should I say in shotgun, for the black and gold in 2021. But, for whatever reason, the Steelers simply can’t stop talking about Roethlisberger.

During an interview with team president Art Rooney II on a partnership with Giant-Eagle to use Heinz Field as a mass vaccination clinic in the month of March, Rooney was again asked about Roethlisberger.

He toed the company line on how he wants the Steelers’ franchise quarterback back in 2021, but also reiterated how the deal needs to be right for the team.

None of this is breaking news, Rooney has said this before, but Rooney also went on to talk about how he felt Roethlisberger was playing at an extremely high level in 2020, and how his arm might be stronger than ever.

Take a look for yourself:

“We think Ben played at a high level last year,” said Rooney. “We won our division and set a franchise record for most consecutive wins to open a season, so there was a lot of good stuff. Ben was as disappointed as anybody the way it ended. That last game is just hard to swallow, and I think in part Ben wants to come back and leave on a high note. We’re still confident he has the ability to do that.

“His arm, I would say, is as strong or almost as strong as ever, so I think he’s certainly capable of getting the job done. Part of the concern is putting a (competitive) team around him, and we had a good discussion about that. We know there are still a lot of pieces to the puzzle that still have to fall into place this season, and we’re hard at work trying to make that happen.”

What a tangled web the Steelers are weaving in this regard. Rooney’s comment on putting a competitive team around Roethlisberger points to Roethlisberger signing a new contract to help get the team temporarily out of salary cap hell this offseason. He later went on to say they want to get a new deal done before March 17th, when the new league year begins.

I, for one, would expect a deal to be done well before that. The difference in Roethlisberger signing an extension and playing under his current contract is well over a $10 million dollar difference. That can make a huge difference in how the Steelers’ approach free agency, and putting some talent around, or in front of, Roethlisberger.

This is just the latest Public Relations move on the Steelers’ behalf, as it pertains to Roethlisberger. The next play should, but probably won’t, be him agreeing to terms on an extension.

We’ll see if that happens anytime soon.

In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.