Ben Roethlisberger returned to a chorus of cheers and well wishes Sunday afternoon.
While he provided a few reasons for fans to wince after the opening introductions, he also provided the intangible aspects that few others can provide at the quarterback position.
The stats weren’t mind-blowing—16 of 27 for 257 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception—but the offense responded to him, and Roethlisberger has begun the process of shaking the rust loose.
While most of his numbers came in the third quarter, and his one turnover cost the Steelers at least a field goal on their best drive of the day, Roethlisberger has proven to offer the best of all three backup quarterbacks who played in his absence.
Roethlisberger may not run a sub-4.4 like Dixon, but he offers the mobility that Dixon provides with the ability to keep his focus downfield.
Take his mobility, add the mental approach of Charlie Batch, but make him even more unflappable under pressure and throw in the arm strength of Byron Leftwich, and Ben Roethlisberger begins to take shape.
Say what you want about his off the field issues, his “return to faith,” and the sincerity of it all, but his value as a quarterback to the Pittsburgh Steelers is undeniable.
Fans and football aside, if Ben’s newfound humility and his play against the Browns is any indication of where he truly is mentally and physically, he may be on his way to proving that redemption is available for those who are willing to make the necessary effort.