The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Monday that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger needs surgery to repair his right elbow, which means he will miss the rest of the 2019 season.
“We expect the surgery will be scheduled for this week,” coach Mike Tomlin wrote in a statement. “He will be placed on our Reserve/Injured List and is out for the season.”
Roethlisberger suffered his elbow injury during the first half against the Seattle Seahawks in the Pittsburgh home opener on Sunday. He finished the half but didn’t return to the game after halftime. Steelers 2018 third-round pick Mason Rudolph replaced “Big Ben,” playing in his first regular season game, and he threw the first two touchdowns of his career.
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter tweeted that Roethlisberger would have preferred to avoid elbow surgery to continue playing this year, but ultimately, it was a doctor’s decision.
A six-time Pro Bowler, Roethlisberger led the league in passing last season with 5,129 yards while also finishing first with 16 interceptions. “Big Ben” was injury-prone early in his career, but in more recent seasons, he’s been more healthy. Since the start of 2013, he had missed just five games because of injury.
Roethlisberger will turn 38 in March, so it’s worth wondering what the future holds for “Big Ben,” especially if Rudolph plays well in his place. And without their starting quarterback after an 0-2 start, the Steelers now seem like a team on their way to missing the playoffs for a second straight season.