After injuring his elbow in Week 2 last year and missing the rest of the season, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t wait for his team’s 2020 season opener Monday night against the New York Giants. And he picked right back up being among the most elite QBs in the league.
The 17th-year vet admitted to having a few nerves prior to kickoff, but he ended the night with 229 passing yards and three touchdowns on 21-of-32 passing, leading the Steelers to a 26-16 win. His third TD of the night gave him 366 for his career, a Pittsburgh franchise record and now tied with Eli Manning for eighth-most in NFL history.
TD 2️⃣ for @TeamJuJu!
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 15, 2020
When asked after the game by ESPN’s Maria Taylor how it felt to be back out on the field, Roethlisberger said, “Awesome.”
“I’m blessed. I can’t thank enough people. I don’t have enough time,” he continued. “Obviously starting with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My wife, my family, my friends, the doctors, my teammates. It just feels so good to be out there with them. And I’m just so thankful and blessed with this opportunity.”
Roethlisberger said he told his teammates in the locker room before the game that they were his motivation to rehab and get back in shape to play.
“I don’t need to accomplish anything personally anymore. It’s about being with a defense that I think is as good as any I have ever played with, skill guys that are young and fun to play with and then, of course my line, who I love to death and they love me. They are the reason I came back to play,” he told ESPN.
Prior to last year, Roethlisberger had never played fewer than 12 games in a season. Now he can look to replicate his 2018, when he led the NFL in passing yards (5,129), and later signed an extension to keep him under contract through 2021. He’s said he had felt pain in his elbow for years prior to last season, but that’s all gone now after three of the five flexor tendons in his right arm were surgically reattached.
As he alluded to Monday night, Roethlisberger is also thriving in his relationship with Christ. He opened up about his faith on a couple different platforms over the summer, and his spiritual shift was detailed in the Fall 2020 edition of Sports Spectrum Magazine, which highlights how he’s become a spiritual leader on the Steelers.
He spoke in June during the ManUp Pittsburgh virtual conference, where talked about being raised in a Christian home, getting baptized and making his own decision as an adult to follow Jesus, and how he’s dealt with some personal struggles throughout his career.
“It’s cool to be a Christian and be an athlete,” he told the viewers. “Go ahead and be the best athlete you can possibly be, and see if you can be a better Christian. That’s what I’m trying to do now. I’m trying to be a better Christian than I am athlete and football player. I push myself to do that every day and it starts here (puts his hand on his Bible).”
Roethlisberger and the Steelers will play their home opener this Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
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