Ben Roethlisberger ‘All the Way Back,’ Says Steelers’ Vance McDonald

Ben Roethlisberger

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is a favorite for AP Comeback Player of the Year.

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Vance McDonald might be a little bit biased. After all, the veteran tight end not only has his locker next to that of QB Ben Roethlisberger, they are friends outside of work and their families are close as well.

But he’s not the only member of the organization to report that Roethlisberger’s arm looks pretty good these days. In fact, second-year wide receiver Diontae Johnson says Big Ben’s arm is way better this year as compared to last.

McDonald had a chance to catch passes from Roethlisberger during the offseason, as did other Steelers receivers, including Johnson.

“He was pushing some of his throws and arm action to test it, whether to build confidence at that point,” McDonald told Teresa Varley of “He was making some insane throws off his back foot, cross field to Diontae Johnson running through the end zone to the back pylon. I remember thinking at that moment, ‘golly, he is really back.’ It’s crazy and awesome to see.”

Vance McDonald: Ben Roethlisberger ‘All the Way Back’

In fact, McDonald was willing to go further in his assessment, saying, “He is all the way back, for sure.”

It’s not just that Roethlisberger’s arm is better than it has been in years.

“This is the most I have ever seen Ben in terms of his hunger for winning a championship,” added McDonald. “I can respect that being down last season made it more real for him. Going through a heavy surgery for a quarterback and where he is now, it made him hungrier. The way he attacks the day is different.

“I am loving the leadership from him, the hunger, the fire. You will notice that trickle down to the entire offense. Guys are just flocking to him. The hunger is real from Ben,” concluded McDonald.

Vance McDonald on Eric Ebron

Meanwhile, Vance McDonald also likes how the addition of free agent tight end Eric Ebron has brought a new element to the team’s offense—and a strong personality to the huddle.

“He has been so fun to be around in his short time he has been here,” said McDonald, speaking about Ebron. “I love his playmaking ability. It will be awesome to see him fit in. Everyone is going to thrive with Eric on the field simply because of the threat he is. He is going to pull a certain amount of attention from the defense. I am excited to see what he is going to do this year.

McDonald insists that Ebron is also going to make him a better, more impactful player.

“Eric getting here and making all of these great plays at tight end is not only going to elevate myself but everyone on the field. Eric is the missing piece, so expect me to dunk on everyone now that we have Eric on our team.”

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