Ben Roethlisberger

AFC Rumors: Enunwa, Steelers, Harris

Quincy Enunwa missed all of the 2017 season and 15 games last year because of a neck injury, and the Jets have ruled him out for the 2020 campaign by placing him on the reserve/PUP list. While the veteran wideout will only turn 28 Sunday, he already faces the prospect of his career being over. Enunwa, however, is not conceding that yet.

If I’m capable of playing, then that’s what I’ll do,” Enunwa said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. “If it comes down to the fact that the doctors say I can’t, there’s not much I can do. There’s really nothing I can do there, but if I have the ability to [play], the passion will always be there, the want-to will always be there.”

Enunwa signed a four-year, $33.4MM extension in December 2018. That deal included $20MM in guarantees, which have become crucial for the embattled receiver. The former sixth-round pick will earn $6MM in base salary this year and has a $4.1MM injury guarantee for 2021. Despite the Jets fining him $27K for missing two rehab sessions last year, Enunwa would like to stay with the team for the remainder of his career. It is unlikely, however, Enunwa — drafted two regimes ago — will be with the Jets in 2021. They can save $6MM by releasing him after this season.

I’m under contract. I want to be a Jet for life,” Enunwa said. “I saw Eli Manning say something. On his Twitter page he wrote, ‘Once a Giant, always a Giant, only a Giant.’ It would be cool to say that as a Jet.”

Here is the latest from the AFC, shifting first to Pittsburgh:

  • Ben Roethlisberger has progressed to the point he would have been ready to fully participate in Steelers OTAs, had those been non-virtual endeavors, Ed Bouchette of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Roethlisberger threw with teammates recently and appears on track for Pittsburgh’s training camp. This would be big news for a team that did not address its quarterback situation this offseason.
  • One of Big Ben’s top targets underwent surgery earlier this offseason. Diontae Johnson went under the knife for a core muscle injury in February, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes. Johnson said he suffered the injury in Week 2. That did not deter him from leading all rookie wideouts with 59 catches — while posting 680 yards and five touchdowns — for a team that played most of the season two backup quarterbacks. Johnson hopes to be medically cleared within days, Fittipaldo adds.
  • Chris Harris confirmed he will play a familiar role with the Chargers. The ex-Broncos standout will play both outside and in the slot, per Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com (on Twitter). While Harris played mostly on the outside in 2019, he earned All-Decade acclaim by playing both roles during his previous Broncos seasons. With Casey Hayward and Desmond King in the fold, the Bolts figure to have considerable versatility in their Derwin James-led secondary this season.

AFC North Rumors: Browns, Landry, Steelers

After undergoing hip surgery in February, Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry has pronounced himself “a little bit ahead of schedule,” according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Landry said he should be ready to return to field action at some point in August. At the moment, obviously, it’s unclear when/if training camp will officially get underway, but Landry figures to be ready during the preseason. Fresh off a campaign in which he posted 83 receptions for 1,174 yards and six touchdowns, Landry had hoped to avoid surgery in favor of a rest-and-rehab schedule, but ultimately went under the knife.

Here’s more from the AFC North:

  • Ben Roethlisberger, who missed the majority of the 2019 season after suffering an elbow injury, had already resumed throwing in February, but this week, he started throwing to his teammates. In a video tweeted by Roethlisberger, the veteran quarterback is shown throwing to Steelers pass-catchers JuJu Smith-Schuster, Ryan Switzer, and James Conner (and subsequently undergoing a haircut and shave). Now 38 years old, Roethlisberger had hoped to gain full medical clearance by the summer. He’s signed for two more years, with a whopping $41.25MM cap charge on the books for 2021.
  • Former Packers area scout Charles Walls has joined the Browns‘ front office, reports Rob Demosky of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Walls will receive a promotion in Cleveland and will hold the title of national scout, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link). Walls, who had been with Green Bay since the 2013 season, had covered the Southeast region for the Packers.
  • In case you missed it, the Ravens are considering an out-of-state training camp location due to COVID-19 concerns.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger Restructures Contract

The Steelers continue to rework contracts as they look to clear up some extra cap space. Now, their franchise quarterback is participating in the cap machinations. Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that Ben Roethlisberger has restructured his contract.

The veteran inked a new three-year, $80MM deal with the Steelers back in April. The 38-year-old was limited to only two games in 2019 as he recovered from an injured elbow, but he set career-highs in passing yards (5,129) and touchdowns (34) in 2018. He also made four-straight Pro Bowls between 2014 and 2017.

Roethlisberger joins a growing list of Steelers who have restructured their contracts in recent days. As Dulac points out, that list includes the likes of tight end Vance McDonald, cornerbacks Joe Haden and Steven Nelson and kicker Chris Boswell. When also accounting for the team’s released players, the organization has already opened up around $35MM in cap space.

Ben Roethlisberger Aiming For Full Clearance By Summer

On the road back to becoming the Steelers’ starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger cleared key hurdles this week. After a positive medical checkup, the future Hall of Famer resumed throwing.

But the 17th-year veteran remains a long way away from working out with his teammates in a full capacity. Roethlisberger said it will be around 2 1/2 to three months before he expects to be full go, according to Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter). Roethlisberger underwent elbow surgery in September.

The soon-to-be 38-year-old quarterback said his checkup went smooth enough he was given the go-ahead to skip the tennis ball-throwing stage of this rehab and go straight to footballs, and he has multiple additional throwing sessions coming up in California (Twitter link via Cook). However, it is unlikely he will be a full participant in any Steeler OTA session. Although Pittsburgh’s June minicamp is beyond the three-month window, that might be a stretch as well.

Both Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin are confident Big Ben will make a full recovery and be ready to resume his role as the Steelers’ starter. Years ago, Roethlisberger hinted at retiring by this age. But he since changed course. The Steelers gave Roethlisberger a new contract last year; the two-year, $68MM extension runs through 2021. Of the class of 2004 quarterbacks, he will soon be the last one standing on his original team. Eli Manning retired, and the Chargers will not re-sign Philip Rivers. Big Ben is the second-longest-tenured quarterback in the league, and if Tom Brady surprises most and leaves the Patriots, he will ascend to the top spot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ben Roethlisberger Resumes Throwing

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has insisted he’s going to come back and play, and he took a big step in the right direction this week. Big Ben has resumed throwing footballs, as you can see in this video the team tweeted out

Pittsburgh’s leader underwent surgery for a season-ending elbow injury back in September. Roethlisberger had “a significant checkup on the elbow Friday in Los Angeles” according to Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com, and apparently that checkup went pretty well. There were some rumblings a couple of months ago that Roethlisberger might never play again, but the passer quickly issued a statement to shoot down those results.

Ever since then everything has been trending in the right direction, and all signs seem to point toward Roethlisberger taking the field in 2020. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin just expressed confidence in his availability, and GM Kevin Colbert made similar comments a couple of weeks ago. The Steelers had high hopes for last season, but they were quickly dashed when Roethlisberger went down with his injury.

The defense became one of the league’s best units which kept them afloat for a while, but ultimately shaky quarterback play from Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges brought them down. There seems to have been hope within the organization that Rudolph would be the heir to Roethlisberger, but the Oklahoma State product certainly didn’t show anything last year to inspire much confidence. Even assuming Roethlisberger makes a full recovery he’s turning 38 next month, and the Steelers will likely have to address the position at some point in the near future.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers’ Tomlin On Big Ben, AB

In an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, head coach Mike Tomlin touched on some of the biggest storylines surrounding the Steelers this offseason. A quick rundown of the highlights:

  • Despite missing the bulk of the 2019 season with detached tendons in his arm, Ben Roethlisberger has vowed to come back stronger than ever in 2019. In the interview, Tomlin expressed unwavering confidence in Big Ben’s road to recovery. “I have no hesitation,” Tomlin said when asked about Roethlisberger’s availability for the 2020 season (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Field Yates). Recently, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert echoed those sentiments. The Steelers will not be among the many clubs engaged in this year’s QB carousel, though it stands to reason that they’ll consider quality backups and prospects who can be groomed for the future.
  • Antonio Brown is seeking to restore his reputation and return to the NFL, but he won’t be getting a second chance with the Steelers. “We have no current business interest at this time,” Tomlin said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Brooke Pryor). No surprise here – even before Brown’s personal life went into a tailspin, the wide receiver spent his final Steelers seasons at odds with Tomlin, Big Ben, and other key figures within the organization. It’s hard to see a path for Brown to get back to football, but he says that he’ll be in attendance at the combine later this month in hopes of talking with NFL teams.
  • After his reinstatement, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett stood by his claim that Steelers QB Mason Rudolph uttered a racial slur to ignite the infamous brawl. Rudolph has rejected those claims and Tomlin stands with him. “I think his reputation needs to be defended and defended aggressively,” Tomlin said (Twitter link via Pryor).

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert On Contract Status, Ben Roethlisberger

Last summer, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert indicated he did not want to enter into a multi-year extension with the team, as he prefers to take things on a year-to-year basis. Earlier this month, the 63-year-old signed another one-year contract with the club to remain in his general manager post through the 2020 campaign.

But in a meeting with Steelers beat writers today, Colbert indicated he is not thinking about quitting anytime soon. “As long as the Rooneys and the Pittsburgh Steelers want me to be a part of this organization and it’s a good thing for our family, we’ll be here,” Colbert said. “I’m not looking to ever go anywhere else again as long as the Rooneys and the Steelers are interested in me” (Twitter link via Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com).

So while Colbert may prefer the flexibility that his one-year extensions afford him, it sounds as if he will continue to lead the Pittsburgh front office for as long as the team wants him to and for as long as his personal life permits. And for good reason. Colbert joined the Steelers in 2000, was promoted from director of football operations to GM in 2010, and has helped build two Super Bowl-winning teams and 12 playoff squads over the years.

In his conversation, Colbert also discussed the status of QB Ben Roethlisberger. We heard in December that Big Ben is expected to make a full recovery from surgery to reattach three tendons in his right arm, and Colbert said today that he believes Roethlisberger’s rehab is going in the right direction (Twitter link via Pryor). The veteran signal-caller has a checkup in Los Angeles on February 21.

Colbert further indicated that the injuries that plagued JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Conner, and Vance McDonald last year would not impact their long-term availability (Twitter link via Pryor). And in other Steelers news, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets that the Steelers are expected to hire a new WR coach any day now. The team is deciding between Jerricho Cotchery and Bryan McClendon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ben Roethlisberger Vows To Return

Ben Roethlisberger brings Steelers fans good tidings and great news for the holidays. After wishing Merry Christmas to his followers, Roethlisberger vowed to return to the field in 2020. 

[RELATED: NFL Playoff Scenarios For Week 17]

Contrary to recent reports out there about my football future and my ‘uncertainty’ about playing again, I am working hard and am more determined than ever to come back stronger and better than ever next year!,” Roethlisberger tweeted.

At one point, there were rumblings that the QB had some doubts about playing again. But, earlier this week, ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen heard the Steelers are confident that Roethlisberger will make a full recovery.

Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges held down the fort for the Steelers this year, with mixed results. Rudolph’s shoulder injury landed him on IR earlier this week, so the Steelers will be hitching their playoff hopes to Duck’s wagon in their Week 17 matchup against the Ravens.

Roethlisberger was sharp in 2018 with career-highs in completions (452), pass attempts (675), passing yards (5,129), and touchdowns (34). He also started in all 16 games, something he hadn’t done since the 2014 campaign. On the other hand, he led the NFL with 16 interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Believe Ben Roethlisberger Will Make Full Recovery

The Steelers believe quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will make a full recovery from his elbow surgery, ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen (on Twitter) hears. Big Ben went under the knife on Sept. 23 to reattach three tendons in his right arm, but team doctors seem to think that he’ll be good to go in 2020.

Although the veteran has not been cleared to resume throwing, Roethlisberger is trending in that direction. The Steelers, meanwhile, are keeping their fingers crossed, since Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges haven’t been consistent in his stead.

Roethlisberger, 38 in March, recently inked a lucrative contract extension that will should him under club control through 2021. At the time, GM Kevin Colbert said that the contract would likely be Big Ben’s last.

“What [Roethlisberger] wants is more Super Bowls. And he wants to continue to try to win, and we’re gonna support that,” Colbert said. And that was a big part of why we were willing to do what we did, and now it’s our job to help him help us get there.”

Big Ben has earned six Pro Bowl nods in his 16-year career. Without him for most of the season, the Steelers have still managed an 8-7 record, setting them up for a do-or-die Week 17 game against the Ravens. A Steelers win coupled with a Titans loss to the Texans would give them a Wild Card berth and a shot at another ring.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Notes: Big Ben, Massie, Rankins

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger underwent elbow surgery today, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The veteran is expected to be ready for the 2020 season. This optimism is similar to what we heard yesterday when we learned about Big Ben’s impending surgery.

Schefter adds that Roethlisberger had surgery on his right elbow. The operation was done by Dr. Neal ElAttrache (in consultation with team physician Jim Bradley) in Los Angeles. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky notes (on Twitter) that this is the same surgeon who operated on Aaron Rodgers collarbone back in 2017.

“Once Ben returns to Pittsburgh, he immediately will begin working with the Steelers’ medical staff on his rehabilitation, and he is expected to make a full recovery and return to the field for the 2020 NFL season,” the Steelers said in a statement (via Schefter).

We learned yesterday that the procedure would repair a muscle tear, and it didn’t involve any ligaments or tendons. Roethlisberger is expected to begin throwing by the spring, and it sounds like he should be good to go come next season.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Bears right tackle Bobby Massie was forced to sit out tonight’s game against the Redskins due to a bout with vertigo, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (via Twitter). The illness apparently popped up today, and it’s uncertain if this is a temporary or long-term issue for the 30-year-old. After starting each of his 46 games during his first three seasons in Chicago, Massie added another two starts to his resume this season.
  • On Saturday, the Packers placed offensive guard Lane Taylor on the injured reserve with a biceps injury, and we now have a bit more clarity on his outlook. Demovsky reports (via Twitter) that the 29-year-old will ultimately need surgery on his left bicep. While the veteran could return from the injured reserve in late November, the operation may sideline him for the rest of the season. Taylor started a pair of games this season before suffering the injury.
  • There’s a chance that Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins sees this field next Sunday night, but Nick Underhill of The Athletic tweets that the 25-year-old is more likely to return in Week 5 or Week 6. The 2016 first-rounder has yet to play in a game this season as he recovers from his Achilles injury. After compiling a career-high eight sacks during the 2018 regular season, Rankins suffered the injury during the divisional round of the playoffs.