Ben Roethlisberger didn't just cut his own salary to remain the Steelers' quarterback for the 2021 season. Apparently he's also cutting all kinds of weight and poor eating habits. According to reporter Ryan Burr, the 39-year-old signal-caller has prioritized physical conditioning ahead of the new season, to the point his "diet is stricter than" that of Buccaneers QB Tom Brady, who is of course famous for his rigid nutrition regimen. Burr cites a source from Roethlisberger's camp in suggesting the QB is "obsessed" with his new workout plan in an effort to prove naysayers wrong entering 2021.
"Ben will never mention the beating he has taken in the media," Burr tweeted Tuesday, "but (a source) says from a dedication standpoint (he) has never seen anything from Ben close to this in the past ... He has been so driven since the season ended."
Roethlisberger, Burr added, is "tired" of the blame he gets for Pittsburgh's shortcomings, and the reputation he has among some league circles as an out-of-shape athlete. That's part of the reason he's apparently taken on new diet and workout plans.
There's also the fact he has a lot riding on 2021. The Steelers have gone 3-6 in the playoffs since losing the Super Bowl in 2010, and they're fresh off a late-season meltdown headlined by Roethlisberger's own decline in production. Before the former Super Bowl champion agreed to reduce his salary from $19 million to $14 million this offseason, there was uncertainty about his future in Pittsburgh, and the NFL in general. At 39, the QB has openly suggested this season could be his last.
Roethlisberger has played a full season just once in the last six years. He missed one game in 2020 after sitting out all but two games the year prior due to a shoulder injury.