Steelers QB Big Ben Roethlisberger spoke to the media on Thursday and updated his status for Sunday’s game in Baltimore. He didn’t box himself in one way or the other, but did leave the door open just as Mike Tomlin mentioned earlier this week.
“Yeah, there’s always a chance. We’ll go out and re-evaluate it again today. See how it feels after today. I can play through a lot of pain, so that is a little bit. To me it’s ability. Can I make a long throw? Can I put a lot of zip on the ball, throw it really hard before people like Ed Reed and defenders can get to the ball? Because if I can’t I’m not putting this team in the best situation to win the game.”
Even if Ben comes back this Sunday or waits another week, he’ll be wearing new, kevlar reinforced shoulder pads to help protect himself as much as possible.
According to doctors, it looks like Ben feels pretty confident in the safety factor when he does return: “Well, this game we play, I don’t think you’re ever completely safe. But, yeah, according to them it’s stable on the backside, posterior. Obviously you could take a big hit and anything could happen, but from what I understand that aspect of it is OK,”
On that same topic, some are saying that Ben’s return is just about arm strength but reading his statement it’s more than that. “Well, it’s a lot of things, but to me that’s what I’m going to evaluate today, and the next couple days, is where am I at in the evaluation of what can I do? What throws can I make? What can’t I make? So we’ll go look at it heavy today I think.”
Ben may say it’s just arm strength as far as he’s concerned but the Steelers medical staff and trainers will continue to take everything into consideration.
For me personally I’m still in the camp of, “sit him down for another week”. If he is able to make the throws, he’ll make them even better next week and perhaps with a bit less pain. Anybody who knows the Ravens and Steelers knows that Baltimore will be more than happy to pile on and/or take a cheap shot at Ben if they get the chance.
It’s not even about not liking the Ravens at this point for me, it’s about knowing that Baltimore is fully aware that Pittsburgh is still in the playoff hunt win or lose this Sunday. If they get a chance to add more injury and lesson his chances of being available in January, you’d be a fool to think they wouldn’t take it.
If Ben can’t play, Charlie Batch will be the starter. As far as the backup goes, that remains to be seen but would either be Byron Leftwich if he’s healthy or new Steeler Brian Hoyer.