Coming into the 2020 season Pittsburgh Steelers fans waited with bated breath to find out if quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would be able to throw again. First, a new look hinted at good news in terms of his recovery from elbow surgery. Then at the beginning of training camp, second-year wide receiver Diontae Johnson said Roethlisberger’s arm was looking ‘way better’ than last year. Finally, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, offered his assessment of Roethlisberger’s velocity and spiral, which was mostly very positive, though it came with a caveat.
Steelers’ David DeCastro: Ben Roethlisberger Looks ‘Lighter, Happier’
Today offensive guard David DeCastro met with the media via Zoom call and said he’s noticed a distinct change in the longtime Steelers quarterback.
“He seems like he has a lighter, positive attitude. He is happier,” said DeCastro, who is not the only teammate who has noticed the change. “I’ve never seen ‘7’ like this,” said tight end Vance McDonald the other day, noting that Big Ben is really hungry to play—and win—now that his arm is feeling better than it has in years. Even Roethlisberger himself has perceived a difference in how he’s feeling, noting that he still has a desire to win multiple Super Bowls before he retires.
“He seems happy, he is light on his feet, and he is having a good time back there,” noted DeCastro, before adding that his teammates on offense are “all enjoying it.” That is, watching Roethlisberger undergo something of a re-birth in this, his 17th season.
DeCastro: ‘We’re All Getting Old’
It’s also possible that last year’s season-ending elbow surgery has Roethlisberger appreciating his football mortality, as are his offensive linemen. DeCastro, center Maurkice Pouncey, and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva are all on the wrong side of thirty, and Villanueva is set to hit unrestricted free agency after this season, making him one of the team’s top 5 pending UFAs entering 2021.
Meanwhile, both Pouncey and DeCastro are signed through 2021, as is Roethlisberger, so there figure to be a lot of new faces on the Steelers offense within a couple years.
“I am not ready to be done yet,” insisted DeCastro. “I still enjoy it, still enjoy coming to work with these guys—Pouncey and Al,” he added, yet he knows that many of his teammates on offense are coming to the end of the road football-wise.
“We’re all know we’re old,” offered DeCastro. “It might be Al’s last year; Pouncey and I are getting old too. Who knows what’s going to happen.”
But DeCastro insists he is still “all-in” when it comes to football. “Once you say you are done and you check out, you can’t really come back to it. I have always had that mindset, being all in, football being number one.”
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