Steelers’ players are excited to have their starting quarterback return to action this week, as Mike Tomlin made it official that Ben Roethlisberger will start on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field.
“It always intensifies the group and makes us more excited,” said receiver Antonio Brown. “Ben has so much physical talent and ability. I am excited to have him back. It’s definitely important if we want to make a run and have opportunities in the playoff we’re going to need Ben out there with us.”
Roethlisberger returned to full practice on Wednesday for the first time since injuring his shoulder against the Kansas City Chiefs, and continued to make progress on Thursday promoting Tomlin’s decision.
“I know he is excited to get back and we are excited to have him back,” said receiver Mike Wallace. “I think he will be fine. He looked pretty good. I am excited about it.
“It opens up everything in our playbook. It’s a different level of game-planning other teams have to do just to compensate for how athletic he is. He brings a dimension nobody else can bring.”
One of the key factors in getting him on the field was Roethlisberger’s velocity returning, and he said tight end Heath Miller is his barometer for how he is doing.
“I have been around him the longest and he knows I will give him an honest answer,” said Miller. “It’s better than last week as you would expect. Over time he will only get better and better.”
Brown, who returned to practice on Thursday, definitely saw progress in Roethlisberger since last week when he first started to throw the ball.
“His velocity has gotten better from last week,” said Brown. “Last week he had a little harder time drilling the ball where he wanted to get it. This week he is looking good.”
Roethlisberger missed the last three games, but his teammates expect the same quarterback he has always been when he returns Sunday.
“From what I have seen he just picked up where he left off,” said Miller. “We have the utmost confidence in him. If he is in the huddle he is going to make plays for us.
“He is one of best players on our team, one of the best quarterbacks in the league.”