Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger may not be completely healthy, this according to offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner.
Following the Steelers opening week tie with Cleveland, Roethlisberger missed two days of practice with a right elbow injury. He has been held out of practice, due to a ‘coaches decision,’ the last three weeks.
"I don't know that it's completely healthy,” Fichtner said of Roethlisberger’s elbow. “But I don't know that, in any one given season, everything or anyone is going to be completely healthy all the time."
Several veterans, including guard Ramon Foster, cornerback Joe Haden and center Maurkice Pouncey have been given regular off days for maintenance. But with Roethlisberger’s early injury and Fichtner’s comments, it may be easy to wonder if health has become an issue.
“We’re tried to do the right things to manage the numbers of throws in-week,” Fichtner said. “I know after this weekend he’ll get an extended rest, and that will be good for him.”
Despite the injury concerns, Roethlisberger is on a career pace, currently sitting third in the NFL in yards. But his ability to throw the deep ball has been inconsistent, at best, and he has throws six interceptions.
He will get a break due to the Steelers bye week following Sunday’s game in Cincinnati. But that game, if the past is any indication, could be a treacherous one for Roethlisberger, as the rivalry is sprinkled with illegal hits and physical play.
“It’s a very physical game, to say the least,” Pouncey said. “It’s great for television and great for the NFL.”
“It’s football. Most games are like that. But whenever your play in our division, things are a little bit more talked about because you play them again… But I think it’s good. Football is about being physical.”
Even if Roethlisberger leaves Cincinnati without injury, Pittsburgh plans to use the bye week to focus more on the backup quarterbacks.
“In the past, it’s been great work for our young guys," Fichtner added. "It’s always been Landry Jones time, young Josh Dobbs time and Dennis Dixon time. That was always great time for them.
“It’s always good to put it back into perspective, how much they’ve got to continue to grow, because they’re one snap from having to lead this football team.”
Hear more from Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner below.