Your eyes do not deceive you. There’s less of Ben Roethlisberger.
The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback has lost weight, thanks to cutting out sugar and carbs and training harder during the offseason.
“How do I feel, whether that’s my arm, my shoulder, my elbow, knees, ankles, just the general feeling of my body?” he said (via the Post-Gazette). “I think it felt great. My arm feels stronger than it ever has. I think that’s always the key, after practice how many times do I put ice on my body? I think only one time in camp, so that’s a good sign.”
Roethlisberger has often debated retiring, with his every vocal musing creating a stir. He also has been mindful about the long-term toll that concussions may have taken on him, once saying that “I hope my son plays golf.” But he got really serious when he committed to the 2018 season — and well beyond — last spring, perhaps spurred by the sight of the Steelers trading up to take Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph in the third round of the NFL draft. Not long after the draft, he said he intends to play for “three to five more years,” relegating Rudolph to “heir apparent” for the foreseeable future.
“I plan on playing for three to five more years, depending on how the line goes and staying healthy, if I can stay healthy,” Roethlisberger said in May. “If [Rudolph] going to be their guy, that’s great, but in my perfect world, it’s not going to be for a while.”
Roethlisberger has battled through a number of injuries over the course of his career, and, after the Steelers’ loss in the AFC championship game in January 2017, he said he planned to take time to “evaluate” whether he’d play in 2017, given his worries about his long-term health and all the hits his body has absorbed. But he returned for his 14th season and missed only one game, leading the Steelers to a 13-3 record.
He passed for 469 yards and five touchdowns (with one interception) in a 45-42 playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in January, and he made his first public response since Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey offered his frank take on Roethlisberger (and seemingly every other NFL quarterback) in a GQ story that came to light last week.
“Big Ben, I think he’s decent at best . . .” Ramsey said. “It’s not Big Ben, it’s [wide receiver Antonio Brown]. Big Ben slings the ball a lot of the time. He just slings it, and his receivers go get it. He has a strong arm, but he ain’t all that. I played him twice last year, and he really disappointed me. He’ll be in the Hall of Fame and all that.
No. 7’s response?
“That’s the awesome thing about this country we live in. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion,” Roethlisberger said. “I think he’s a fantastic player, and I think we play them at some point and they got the best of us last year. So I guess he has the right to say whatever he wants.”
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