Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger played in only two games last season, but, despite his appearance in a recent video, he did not let himself go. He may sport a beard that is positively Letterman-esque in length, but he has not — repeat, NOT — put on a few extra pounds.

“I’ve heard people say I’m fat, and that just blows my mind,” Roethlisberger told Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I’m lighter and in better shape than I was in either of the past two years. I haven’t stopped working out. I normally don’t work out in the offseason, but I’ve been doing everything five days a week with my trainer. Cardio twice a week. Legs twice a week. Upper body twice a week.

“I guess it’s my beard that makes me look heavier. I must have five pounds in that, I know. But I’m not overweight.”

In a video message about the importance of social distancing during the novel coronavirus pandemic, he shared scenes of his family life and an uplifting message. And he looked for all the world as if he were wandering Yellowstone rather than rehabbing after having elbow surgery after the Steelers’ second game of the 2019 season.

It may have been an unsettling sight, but Roethlisberger likes where he is in his recovery after getting the green light to begin throwing a football Feb. 21. “I had thrown a Nerf ball a little bit before that to my kids in the living room, and my arm felt pretty good,” he told Cook. “I knew it was going to be okay. But still, it felt so neat to throw a football. It had been a long time. I guess it was like riding a bike a little bit. You get back on and go. It’s not like it had been a year. It has been months. I never throw much in the offseason, anyway, so I looked at the time I had off like it was my offseason.”

Because organized team activities and minicamp may be called off or pushed back, Roethlisberger said there is “no need for me to rush it” as he throws more passes each day. “I’ll gradually ramp up the number of days and the throws and the distance and the velocity,“ he said. “I really feel like I could let it rip right now if I had to, but what’s the point?”

And shaving. What about shaving? It turns out he had his reasons for giving it up and going with what he referred to as his “Samson effect.”

“When we were flying to Los Angeles for my surgery, I told my wife I wasn’t going to shave my beard or cut my hair until I can throw an NFL-caliber pass again,” he said. “She can’t wait. She’s ready for it to come off. Maybe in another month or two.”

Read more on the NFL: