2020 has been a difficult year for everyone in one way or another. Whether it’s the loss of a job, the loss of a loved one, or even just accepting things that are different from what we’re used to. While not as significant as some of the aforementioned incidents that can occur during these difficult times, the sport has been severely affected by the pandemic.
Youth sports and high schools have been shut down, and even professional sports leagues have put their games on hold as they figure out how best to move forward. The National Football League was the first league to start games on time and finish the regular season without having to cancel games.
Not that there weren’t any hiccups along the way, but many players have had their own specific struggles both during the offseason and the regular season. The teams were not able to see the players as much as they usually do during minicamps, organized team activities and training camp.
Things were different, and with that came a level of uncertainty around specific actors. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, no player was taller than Ben Roethlisberger. After a season-ending elbow injury that required surgery, no one knew what to expect from the team’s franchise quarterback.
Of course, there was a video of him throwing, but that certainly can’t be compared to playing the game at the highest level. When the 2020 preseason was called off, the Steelers knew they were going to miss out on an opportunity to see what Roethlisberger can and cannot do with his brand new throwing elbow.
Were the Steelers concerned? Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert both have happy faces whenever they’ve been asked about Roethlisberger’s health. They explained how he could be a better player than before the injury, how his rehabilitation had only been positive and above all how they fully expected Roethlisberger to be the starter and be able to make all the throws he had. an NFL quarterback must do. .
However, after the 2020 season, where Roethlisberger played 15 of 16 regular season games, putting the Week 17 game against the Cleveland Browns to rest, Mike Tomlin spoke about how concerned the Steelers organization was about the Roethlisberger’s health throughout the season.
“Regarding Ben [Roethlisberger]I can’t say enough about his performance this year. With the uncertainty that emerges from the injury, and in particular not having the opportunity to play in preseason games and so on, there was truly a high level of concern regarding his health and ability to perform. perform. Tomlin said. “I can’t say enough about his efforts. I can’t say enough about the efforts of our medical and rehabilitation staff who worked hand in hand with him to bring him through this process and get him to the stages this year.
“I was more than happy with the performance of his health and his ability to stay awake. As for the quality of his game and our game, we’ll start to assess that in the coming days, but as for his response to the challenges he specifically came in the season ready to face, spectacular.
The fact that the Steelers are concerned about Roethlisberger’s health shouldn’t shock anyone. When the franchise quarterback undergoes end-of-season elbow surgery at 37, there should be concerns. Have all questions surrounding Roethlisberger’s capacity been answered in 2020? Are the Steelers confident Roethlisberger can come back and play well in 2021 in the final year of his current contract?
Tomlin isn’t about to say anything about this just yet.
“We have not taken any decision concerning any of our employees in this regard.” Tomlin said. “As I mentioned, all of these discussions are interrelated, and we’re just starting to scratch the surface when it comes to what 2021 looks like in terms of our team makeup and the issues that go with it.”
The Steelers have a huge decision to make with Roethlisberger this offseason. Play him the final year of his $ 41 million contract, or release him and owe him only around $ 21 million. Never an easy decision when it comes to a franchise player, but as Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu found out, no one is immune to the Steelers essentially telling them their time is up.
That said, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes regarding black and gold as they prepare for a very tumultuous offseason.