Steelers GM Kevin Colbert on Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab: ‘I’ve never worried about his conditioning’

Ben Roethlisberger’s fitness, something that is seemingly always a topic of conversation, has again been called to the forefront this offseason. On Wednesday, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said that he has no concerns as it relates to Roethlisberger’s conditioning.

Roethlisberger, 38, has been sticking to a specific workout regiment this offseason while continuing to rehab his surgically repaired elbow. 

“I know where Ben is, where he’s been in his career, and I’ve never worried about his conditioning,” Colbert told Mark Madden of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “When he shows up at training camp, he’s ready to go. He knows how to prepare himself.”

Colbert’s comments on Big Ben come less than a week after Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin also reaffirmed his faith in Roethlisberger during an appearance on NFL Network. 

“As we sit here today, we’re extremely confident in his readiness,” said Tomlin, who has won two AFC titles and a Super Bowl with Roethlisberger as his quarterback. “We’re enjoying the process that he’s going through right now. Obviously, it’s not without his angst. The guy’s coming off of a season-ending injury/surgery. But we like where we are. He’s throwing on a rehab schedule and it’s going well. We fully anticipate him being ready to go for that opener.” 

In 2018, Roethlisberger made significant changes to his offseason diet and training routines. Along with cutting out carbs and sugar, Big Ben spent the offseason working with a personal trainer. When the regular season began, a leaner Roethlisberger led the NFL with 5,129 passing yards. He also threw 34 touchdown passes while helping the Steelers break the team’s 39-year-old record for the most touchdowns in a season (53). 

Earlier this offseason, Roethlisberger told Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he has been working out with his trainer five times a week. He also does cardio twice a week, legs twice a week, and upper body twice a week. He said that he is “lighter and in better shape than I was in either of the past two years. I haven’t stopped working out.”

A true sign of the Steelers’ faith in Roethlisberger is the fact that they are openly trying to surround him with talent in order to help him win a third Super Bowl before he hangs up his cleats for good. While the Packers spent a first-round pick selecting Aaron Rodgers‘ potential successor, the Steelers used several of their draft picks to complement Roethlisberger for the 2020 season and beyond. Pittsburgh also used free agency to plug several holes on offense, specifically at tight end and on the offensive line. 

After losing Ramon Foster (who retired in March) and B.J. Finney (who signed a two-year deal with Seattle), the Steelers signed former Eagles and Chiefs offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski, a starter on Kansas City’s 2019 championship team. Pittsburgh also signed former Colts tight end Eric Ebron, who is two years removed from earning Pro Bowl honors after catching a career-high 13 touchdown passes. 

With their first pick in the draft, the Steelers selected Notre Dame receiver Chase Claypool, a big, strong target at 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds who caught 13 touchdowns during his final season with the Fighting Irish. The Steelers spent a fourth-round pick on Maryland running back Anthony McFarland, who clocked the fourth-fastest time in the 40-yard dash among running backs at the combine. McFarland had a field day against Ohio State in 2018, ripping off runs of 81, 75 and 52 yards against one of the nation’s best teams. 

Colbert, who helped build a championship roster around Roethlisberger during the first half of his career, is hoping the team’s moves this offseason will help Roethlisberger finish his career the way he started it. 

“I know that he could easily walk away from this game as well, but he’s continuing to play it because I think he really wants to prove and do more,” Colbert said. “To me, the guy has Hall of Fame credentials as he stands today, but that’s not enough for him – and, to me, that’s a mark of greatness.”

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