Terry Bradshaw offers injury advice to Ben Roethlisberger, who he believes will ‘come back strong’ in 2020

Terry Bradshaw has recently admitted that he seriously contemplated retiring after leading the Steelers to their fourth Super Bowl win in six years. It was the 1980 offseason, and Bradshaw, who wouldn’t turn 32 until that September, was content with a career that already included four rings, two Super Bowl MVP awards and a league MVP. 

Bradshaw ultimately decided against retiring, playing another four years with the Steelers. But instead of going out on his terms, Bradshaw was forced to hang up his cleats after he was unable to fully recovery following surgery to his right elbow. Bradshaw, during a recent interview with Ed Bouchette of The Athletic, does not think current Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will suffer a similar fate. In fact, Bradshaw, who also offered advice to Big Ben when it comes to his recovery, believes that Big Ben will “come back strong” as long as he does the right things. 

“Yeah, in the back of his mind, he’s 38 now,” Bradshaw said of Roethlisberger. “He has to say to himself, ‘OK, take care of this thing.’ Don’t come back until you’re 100 percent strong and you can make all the throws and there is no pain, etc. I feel like that’s what’s going to happen. I’m hoping that he’s fine. But I can’t say; I’m not there. I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him, but it’s an elbow injury.

“Let me say this: Under proper supervision, I would expect him to come back strong.”

Roethlisberger, who missed 14 games last season after undergoing surgery on his right elbow, offered a positive update on his recovery during a recent interview with Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He started throwing again last month after visiting with the doctors that performed his surgery, but Roethlisberger hoped to increase his throwing volume this week. 

“Right now, it’s about 40 throws a day and about 20 yards,” Roethlisberger, who led the NFL with 5,129 passing yards in 2018, said last week. “I throw from my knees and I throw flat-footed. It’s mainly just about getting my spin back.

“I’ll gradually ramp up the number of days and the throws and the distance and the velocity. I really feel like I could let it rip right now if I had to, but what’s the point? There’s no need for me to rush it. Our goal was for me to be 80, 90, 100% by OTAs and minicamp. Now that it looks like those things are going to be canceled [due to the coronavirus pandemic], I can take my time a little more.”

Based on his comments, it appears that Roethlisberger is following Bradshaw’s advice. Steelers fans are certainly hoping Bradshaw is right with regard to how well Roethlisberger recovers from his elbow injury. Many fans remember the team’s “dry spell” that saw Pittsburgh play in one Super Bowl between January 1980 and February 2006, when Big Ben quarterbacked the Steelers to their first title in 26 years. While they had their share of decent quarterbacks during that span between titles, the Steelers didn’t have a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback, which was one of the main reasons why several very good teams fell short of their ultimate goal. 

The Steelers are trying to provide Roethlisberger will better weapons heading into the 2020 season. The team recently made an upgrade at the tight end position, signing 2018 Pro Bowler Eric Ebron to a two-year, $12 million deal. The Steelers have also addressed their needs on the offensive and defensive lines following Ramon Foster’s retirement last week and the free agent losses of OL B.J. Finney (to Seattle) and DL Javon Hargrave (to the Eagles). They were able to sign former Eagles/Chiefs OL Stefen Wisniewski, a starter on Kansas City’s 2019 Super Bowl championship team, to a two-year deal shortly after the start of free agency. Pittsburgh also sent a 2021 fifth-round pick to the Ravens in exchange for veteran DT Chris Wormley and a 2021 seventh-round pick. 

The Steelers have also signed veteran fullback Derek Watt — the younger brother T.J. Watt — two a two-year contract. The addition of Watt should help improve a Steelers rushing attack that ranked 31st and 29th in the NFL over the past two seasons. Pittsburgh is expected to add to their skill positions during next month’s draft. 

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