Training Camp

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert on Ben Roethlisberger's future with team: '2021 is all we're worried about'

Ben Roethlisberger's future in Pittsburgh?

It's here. It's now. And beyond that, it's not of concern to Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert.

"2021 is all we're worried about with Ben," Colbert said as the club's camp opened Tuesday, according to NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala. "… Beyond that, none of us know."

Colbert later told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that there never was any doubt during the offseason on if Roethlisberger was committed playing this season.

"He came to us shortly after the season ended and said, it's my intention, I'm playing in 2021," Colbert said. "That was, OK, that's the starting point, your mindset is here now, let's try and find a way to make it work. He and Ryan were very workable. When you do a deal or redo a deal, everybody has to accept it and he was more than willing, not only to accept it but he initiated it. It kind of indicated (his intentions) right out the gate. We just had to figure out how to make it work."

At 39 years of age, Roethlisberger is embarking upon his 18th NFL season.

After missing nearly all of 2019 with an elbow injury, Big Ben showed last season that he's still aging gracefully as a pro quarterback with 33 touchdown passes, the second-highest total of his career, and winning 12 of his 15 starts. The Steelers and Roethlisberger, however, suffered a dramatic collapse at the end of the season, losing their five of their final six games of the year including a disheartening home defeat to the Browns in the wild-card round.

Colbert told Rapoport he didn't see a dip arm strength toward the end of the year (Big Ben underwent elbow surgery in 2019).

"Last year, coming off that surgery, nobody knew, really. I didn't see his arm deteriorate as the season went on. We deteriorated as a team. We just weren't as good," Colbert said. "To a man, nobody performed like they we were earlier in the season. I think anybody that denies that is not living in reality. We deteriorated, all of us. I'm encouraged by his wanting to be here, the things he did contractually to be here, not only to make himself available but to help put a team around him under those circumstances. Physically, I'm extremely comfortable with where he is but his mindset and doing what he did to help himself, help us and help his teammates, I think is huge."

With the retirements of Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, Roethlisberger is in an ever-shrinking club among the NFL's elder statesmen at quarterback, along with Tom Brady. Roethlisberger signed a new contract with the Steelers in March for a $5 million pay cut.

Training camp is finally here! Be sure to check outNFL Network's extensive live coverage, including Inside Training Camp every day and highlighted by Training Camp: Back Together Saturday Fueled by Gatorade on July 31.

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