Ben Roethlisberger made headlines after on Monday showcasing a recent passing drill with teammates JuJu Smith-Schuster, Ryan Switzer and James Conner. It was a significant step for Roethlisberger, who is expected to be ready to go when the Steelers kick off the 2020 regular season.
Switzer, during a recent interview with Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, offered a glowing review of Roethlisberger's passes following Saturday's 90-minute session. Switzer said that Roethlisberger, who is nearly eight months removed from elbow surgery, not only displayed his patented velocity, he was also able to make some deep throws, completing at least one 50-yard pass to Switzer during the session.
"Man, he let it rip," Switzer said. "There was no restraint, no hesitancy, he was just out there. He has been throwing like that for a while and, in my opinion at least, getting out there on that field for the first time and throwing full-speed routes was refreshing. The control factor was taken out of it. He was out there and he was throwing. Did some off-schedule stuff. No restraints. He threw everything -- across his body. Everything."
Switzer said that Roethlisberger's throwing session on Saturday was "leaps and bounds different" from when they first started working together earlier this offseason.
"He's been working hard, and it's been cool to be a part of that process and just to see him put his mind to coming back," Switzer said. "Just to see that tenacity has been neat to be a part of.
"Somebody with the accolades, has all the money in the world and to have an injury like this and to see that drive ... I think a lot of people would be like, 'You know what I have accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish and I have the money, what am I doing?'"
Signed through the 2021 season, Roethlisberger recently said that his desire to end his career on his terms has been one of the main things that has fueled him during his recovery. Roethlisberger, who won two Super Bowls during his first five seasons in Pittsburgh, is also hoping to lead the Steelers back to the postseason after a two-year absence. The Steelers used free agency and the draft to help put more pieces around their franchise quarterback, acquiring former Pro Bowl tight end Eric Ebron, former Chiefs guard Stefen Wisniewski, rookie receiver Chase Claypool and rookie running back Anthony McFarland.
"We all want to be out there," Roethlisbeger told former teammate Bruce Gradkowski on SiriusXM NFL Radio, via Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider. "It's what we love to do, and as a quarterback you feel like 'That's my team out there and I want to be out there leading my guys and I want to help them and I want to do everything I can and be out there and go through the battle with them.' But when you can't do that, it's so hard and it just tugs at you, and so I think it really put a little fire into me, like, 'No, this is not the end for me. This is not how I'm going out. I'm going to go bust my butt and I'm going to give it everything I have to just give myself a chance to come back and try and be better than ever.'"