Roethlisberger is scheduled to undergo season-ending right elbow surgery this week. The injury does not appear career-threatening.
Coach Mike Tomlin on Tuesday said the details of Roethlisberger’s injury will be confirmed post-surgery, based on what doctors find out in the process. Then he cited Roethlisberger’s statement that he plans to honor his three-year contract that takes him through the 2021 season.
“He fully intends to come back from his injury, and everything we’ve heard, we’re comfortable that’s a strong possibility,” Tomlin said.
In a statement posted by the team Monday, Roethlisberger said he was “completely determined” to return stronger than ever.
“The Steelers committed three years to me this offseason and I fully intend to honor my contract and reward them with championship-level play,” he said.
Multiple teammates said Roethlisberger complained of elbow soreness in the days leading up to a 28-26 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, during which Roethlisberger left holding his elbow after a late-second-quarter throw. But Tomlin said he was not aware of any issues.
Second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph will make his second career start for the 0-2 Steelers on Sunday at San Francisco. Tomlin said he’s confident in Rudolph, who has “taken a step” in Year 2. Teammates have raved about his preparedness after he completed 12 of 19 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns in relief against Seattle.
Mason Rudolph says that while it hurts to lose Ben Roethlisberger, he is ready to step up and play for the Steelers.
In a blockbuster move Monday night, the Steelers gave up a first-round pick for Miami Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who Tomlin says will play against the 49ers. The Steelers were high on Fitzpatrick in the 2018 draft, but landing the 11th overall pick would have been a “pipe dream” then, Tomlin said.
The faith in Rudolph and the move for Fitzpatrick show the Steelers are all-in on 2019. Not that players needed reminding, Tomlin added.
“I’ll say this — we feel comfortable with the team we’ve assembled,” Tomlin said. “Our level of expectations in terms of level of our performance will not change and has not changed.”