Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed all three of his team’s practices leading up to Sunday’s matchup with the division rival Cincinnati Bengals. Then he promptly went out and completed 27 of 46 passes for 333 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions en route to a 36-10 win. (Never mind that the Steelers had no running game to speak of, as James Conner was the team’s leading rusher with 13 carries for 36 yards.)
So it’s no surprise that Roethlisberger was asked about his lack of practice time during his postgame press conference. Naturally he attributed his performance “to the guys around me,” including his offensive linemen and the coaching staff “for getting me ready to play—and all of us ready to play.”
But he also admitted that his arm—and body—did feel refreshed after being sidelined most of the week on the COVID-19 Reserve list, which has him lobbying Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin for a change in his practice routine—a suggestion made mostly in jest.
“I spent a lot of the week icing [my arm and knees]. I really just felt nice and rested coming into today so I’m trying to talk coach into seeing if I can take next week off too,” he quipped.
But maybe a little more rest wouldn’t be a bad idea.
At one point, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette asked Roethlisberger whether he felt like his arm had more “juice” this week, “because it really looked like it today.” To which Big Ben responded:
“You know, when I threw on Friday my arm felt really, really good and I knew that it felt rested. It’s not that I throw a lot on Thursday and Friday but to literally take Thursday completely off—and on Friday I probably threw 50 passes—that’s about it…. It’s really important this time of year … to let the arm rest. And it definitely felt good going into this game and I’m hoping it’s because of the time off and a lot of icing this week.”
50 Passes … on Friday?
Incidentally, when Roethlisberger mentioned—unsolicited—that he threw 50 passes or so on Friday, that no doubt raised eyebrows among the reporters covering the team. One of those reporters, Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, asked him to whom he threw those passes, a follow-up question that Big Ben deftly sidestepped, as he was quarantining at home on Friday—or supposed to be quarantining. Perhaps we’ll hear more about those “50 passes” later this week.
Steelers Facilities to be Closed Monday
In the meantime, Steelers Director of Communications Burt Lauten has announced that the Rooney UPMC Sports Complex will be closed on Monday November 16th for what ESPN’s Brooke Pryor described as a “deep clean throughout the building.”
The Steelers currently have two players on the COVID-19 Reserve list—tight end Vance McDonald and rookie offensive lineman Kevin Dotson. A unnamed Steelers staffer also tested positive for COVID-19 on November 7th, and assistant offensive line coach Adrian Klemm missed the Bengals game due to illness.
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