Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season, but Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made it clear on Tuesday that “our level of expectations in terms of level of our performance will not change and has not changed” because of the injury.
While Mason Rudolph will be responsible for steering the offense in pursuit of those expectations, Roethlisberger said in a statement on Monday that he plans to return for the 2020 season after having elbow surgery and recovering from his injury. Tomlin declined to delve into details of Roethlisberger’s injury on Tuesday, but did say that the team shares Roethlisberger’s belief that he can come back next year.
“He fully intends to come back from his injury, and everything we’ve heard, we’re comfortable that’s a strong possibility,” Tomlin said, via ESPN.com.
Recovery from injuries can take unexpected turns and the same is true of the best-laid plans of NFL teams and players, so one can’t say with much certainty what will happen come 2020 until the next 14 games have been played. Rudolph’s work will weigh heavily in those games and perhaps the futures of both quarterbacks as well.