Steelers seeing brand new Big Ben at training camp

The longtime Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback is a new man at training camp

The Pittsburgh Steelers were in playoff contention in the final week of the 2019 season despite alternating between Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges at starting quarterback. Head coach Mike Tomlin was in that conundrum due to Ben Roethlisberger suffering a season-ending right elbow injury. Who knows, maybe the Steelers would’ve made the playoffs if “Big Ben” remained healthy.

With Steelers training camp kicking off, many players on the team noticed that Roethlisberger is “lighter” and “happier” entering his 17th season in the NFL.

“He seems kind of lighter, a positive attitude, happier,” DeCastro said in a conference call on Monday, via Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider. “I think the biggest thing with Ben, it’s not just that he’s a talented player, it’s what he does for the people around him. He has the ability to make you play better, forces you to play better because he expects it. It’s similar to Pouncey in a way in that good leaders aren’t just good players. You have to have that ability, but they demand your best when you’re out there. You call in line. That’s a true leader. He has that presence in the huddle. He expects the best from you. He expects you not to lose. I’ve been around him over the years, he’s always had that. It’s part of what makes him great.

“But he seems happy. He’s lighter on his feet. Just having a good time. Being out last year I’m sure it hurt. That’s not easy on your mental health. We’re all enjoying it. We all know we’re old. It might be [left tackle Alejandro Villanueva’s] last year. [Maurkice] Pouncey and I are getting old, too. Who knows what’s going to happen? We’re trying to enjoy it the most we can.”

Roethlisberger hoping to make one more run at the Lombardi Trophy

This is welcome news for Steelers fans across the nation. Throughout the offseason, there was some uncertainty surrounding Roethlisberger’s status for 2020 considering he underwent elbow surgery.

Even though he never received immediate clearance for this upcoming campaign, general manager Kevin Colbert told the media prior to the NFL Draft that they were confident in Roethlisberger’s ability to return from his injury and would not be selecting a rookie signal caller. Colbert was true to his word, as he didn’t select a single quarterback in this year’s draft.

Roethlisberger is under contract for the next two seasons, so this could be his final chance to compete for the Lombardi Trophy at least one more time. The Steelers are in good position to do so. Their defense, led by TJ Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick, was one of the best in the league last season. The offense is relatively solid with the likes of JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Eric Ebron.

The Steelers were just a quarterback away from potentially clinching the sixth seed in the AFC last season. With the majority of last year’s roster remaining on the team in 2020, they could make a run with a healthy and happy Ben Roethlisberger. If last year was proof, you can never rule out the Steelers.

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