PITTSBURGH – For the first time in nearly a year, Ben Roethlisberger pitched a ball with the Steelers at Heinz Field.
The quarterback, who suffered an elbow injury that ended his 2019 season in Week 2, participated in practice on Monday and the Steelers posted a 44-second video of his passes.
They were the first images of Roethlisberger pitching at Heinz Field since he completed a nine-yard pass to James Conner in the second quarter of the game against the Seattle Seahawks. Two plays later, the passer appeared to injure his elbow on a pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster. He completed two more shipments to end the offensive series before being replaced by Mason Rudolph at halftime.
The following week, Roethlisberger went on the injured reserve list and underwent surgery to repair his elbow in late September.
As part of his rehabilitation, Roethlisberger had had previous passing sessions with some of his receivers at local high schools and at Robert Morris University and on Monday, he participated in his first training session with the entire team.
A beautiful sight to see! @_ BigBen7 pic.twitter.com/PkLB32GJNt
– Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 3, 2020
Without preseason games, the Steelers hope to simulate as many game situations as possible for Roethlisberger.
“We will have to take advantage of the simulations we can present (to Roethlisberger) against the defense,” said offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner. ” Naturally, the first thing is to have a feeling of where you are with your body. Your arm will tell us. It is not unusual for us to work one day, maybe half a day and rest another. He already knows the routine. It’s a little bit different from the routine and it’s going to be a different training camp.
“We will have to play by hearsay and how he feels and how much he wants to pitch. There are times when (Ben) wants to pitch all the time and we will have to calm him down. That is good, “he added.
During the virtual season break, Roethlisberger was an active participant in team meetings by pointing out what he wants to see from his receivers.
“Ben would always participate and teach us something on a play, specifically what he likes to see from us,” said rookie catcher Chase Claypool, who indicated he participated in a couple of passing sessions with Roethlisberger. “That was helpful, in terms of what we should do and what is expected of us.”
For a season break that has been anything but normal, Roethlisberger’s return gives stability to the organization, however, Fichtner warned his players that the quarterback’s return will not immediately solve the problems they faced on offense last year.
“(Ben’s return) is no excuse for anyone to stop doing their job and not be great at what they do, because there will only be 11 of us who will do things. Let them not think that maybe I can breathe and say, ‘Ah, Ben is back.’ No. It is not the case, “Ficther finished.