Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers need Ben Roethlisberger to chase championship

Ben Roethlisberger says he will be ready to answer the bell. Great news for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On Monday, the future first-ballot Hall of Famer spoke to Ed Bouchette of The Athletic over the phone and provided hope for the Steel City. The team went 8-8 last year with Duck Hodges and Mason Rudolph. Roethlisberger is expected back when training camp rolls around, and certainly for the season — assuming there is one.

“I was going to be ready to go for OTAs and the minicamps. That was going to be the plan. Now I don’t know how much I was going to do, I don’t know if I was going to be doing team stuff or stuff like that, but I would have been definitely going to be out there ready to go.”

 

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Roethlisberger, 38, is coming off a season cut short in Week 2 by elbow surgery, putting him on there shelf. Without him, Pittsburgh’s defense played at a championship level while the offense sputtered badly.

However, the Pittsburgh Steelers have reason to hope Roethlisberger can get the offense on track. If he does, he could give them one more run at a title before he decides to retire.

With the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North, Pittsburgh will need Roethlisberger to not only return, but to be playing at a very high level. Baltimore swept the Steelers last year and rode a 12-game winning streak to a 14-2 mark, tops in the AFC. While it’s likely the Ravens take a step back, the Steelers need to take a few steps forward to make up the ground.

 

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The good news? Going from Hodges and Rudolph to a well above-average starting quarterback — even at this stage in his career — qualifies as a few steps and then some. Pittsburgh doesn’t need 5,000 passing yards from Big Ben, it just can’t have Neil O’Donnell, the Redux.

With any luck, we’ll find out come late July when training camp is scheduled to start for all 32 clubs. The Steelers can get on the field, Roethlisberger can toss a few rainbows to JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Mike Tomlin can once more dream about a second title.

Whether an aging quarterback can turn back the clock for at least another season is unknown, but if Roethlisberger comes back and plays to his previous standard, Pittsburgh will be a force in the weaker AFC.

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