One thing that has never been questioned about Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is his toughness.
You can like him or hate him, but you simply can’t question his toughness or leadership.
However that toughness can sometimes get in the way of logic and Roethlisberger has always been the type of guy to do whatever it takes to be on the field. But this time logic should win out and Roethlisberger should be in street clothes when the Steelers visit Baltimore on Sunday.
Sometimes that toughness leads to bad decisions by the coaching staff like last year in San Francisco when Big Ben tried to gut it out against the 49ers.
Mike Tomlin certainly doesn’t want to play Charlie Batch again and would love to have his franchise quarterback under center in such a meaningful game. But as much as the Steelers’ head coach wants Big Ben under center, Roethlisberger wants to play that much more.
He can be quite persuasive and we have seen him gut it out many times in the past, but this time the risk highly outweighs the reward.
This recent set of injuries isn’t the ankle injury we saw last season. It’s much worse. If Roethlisberger isn’t deemed 100 percent from the team’s medical staff, there is absolutely no way he can be allowed to play.
It looks as if that’s the case anyway, but things can change before Sunday.
Reports say that his shoulder injury doesn’t seem like it could get much worse, but what if it does? The Steelers immediate future rides on his right arm and it would be a shame to see them risk any potential future damage.
Speaking of damage, his ribs are more of a concern. Information I have gathered says 4-6 weeks minimum, but that’s just a guess also. Those same reports also say Roethlisberger could risk further damage to the ribs if he returns too soon.
Nobody wants to see No. 7 under center more than me, but it simply isn’t worth the risk this week or maybe even next week.
Let’s just say he comes back less than 100 percent and the Steelers find a way to beat the Ravens. Are they a good enough football team to run the table the rest of the season without Roethlisberger at 100 percent? They certainly haven’t proven that this season.
The franchise is to blame for not addressing the backup quarterback position at any time during the past three years. They shouldn’t make Roethlisberger pay for those mistakes.
You don’t risk future injury to your franchise, even if he wants to get out there and play.
The best course of action unfortunately is to take your lumps with Batch and wait for Big Ben to get to 100 percent and then roll the dice and attempt to finish the season on a high note and possibly sneak into the playoffs.
If that’s one more week, two more weeks, or more, that’s what the Steelers have to do.
Anything else would be foolish.