During the offseason there was reason for Pittsburgh Steelers fans to believe that QB Ben Roethlisberger was on the right track as he sought to come back from elbow surgery—including the shave & haircut that drew criticism from Pennsylvania’s governor. More recently we heard from second-year wide receiver Diontae Johnson, who said Roethlisberger’s arm looks ‘way better’ than it did at the beginning of last season.
But until today we hadn’t heard anything from the boss—head coach Mike Tomlin—about how Roethlisberger’s arm is looking from his perspective. Keep in mind that Tomlin has been watching Roethlisberger throw at training camp for 14 years now.
Tomlin on Roethlisberger’s Arm: ‘Nothing to Alarm You’
“I didn’t see anything that was alarming in any way,” Tomlin said on a Zoom call Thursday morning, this according to ESPN Staff Writer Brooke Pryor. “His velocity is excellent. Maybe his spiral could be a little tighter. I’ve seen it tighter, but nothing to alarm you in any way.”
Considering we now know the extent of Roethlisberger’s elbow injury, something Big Ben didn’t reveal until just a few days ago, it’s great that Roethlisberger is well on his way back from surgery. But Tomlin’s statements would seem to indicate that Big Ben still has room for improvement—that he’s not quite ready for game action. That would seem to be confirmed by Tomlin’s next thought:
“We’re going to continue to proceed appropriately with him in an effort to have him ready to go when we step into a stadium,” said Tomlin, referring to the team’s regular-season opener, which is scheduled for Monday Sept. 14 against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
To that end, Roethlisberger did not practice on Wednesday, as scheduled, after throwing extensively on both Monday and Tuesday.
“I’m extremely comfortable with where he is in the process,” concluded Tomlin. “It’s been great communication, from and through him and the medical professionals through his rehab process.”
Training Camp at Heinz Field
Meanwhile, Steelers training camp continues apace at Heinz Field. It’s the first time the Steelers have held camp anywhere but Saint Vincent College in Latrobe since the 1960s.
For what it’s worth, the Steelers are one of only a handful of teams that haven’t yet had a player opt out of the 2020 season, which may be a reflection of all the efforts the organization has made to keep players as safe as possible. That includes a diverse array of modifications at Heinz Field, including the addition of an outdoor weight room.
Also new at Heinz Field: solar panels, a move into renewable energy that figures to help the Steelers reduce the stadium’s carbon footprint.
The team has already said that it hopes to return to Saint Vincent College for training camp in 2021, pandemic-permitting.
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