Eventually, the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to have to find a successor for Ben Roethlisberger. The veteran quarterback is 38 years old and coming off a season in which he appeared in just two games due to an elbow injury.
So Pittsburgh could turn to the draft this year to find his eventual replacement. If that's the case, Roethlisberger isn't sweating it, as he said Thursday on SiriusXM NFL Radio (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk):
"They have to do what they have to do. We've got some quarterbacks on the roster but if they feel like there's a better one out there then they got to go get him. And that's their prerogative. That's why they're the owners, the GMs and the coaches and we just play. It's not going to change my mindset, my mentality, my motivation. I'm trying to come off an injury, so I'm going to give it everything I have. If they go draft a quarterback with our first pick in the second [round] it's not like it's going to make me go out there and try to be any better because I'm already trying to do that anyway, you know?"
Pittsburgh's alternatives to Roethlisberger last season, Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, did little to make the case for being Pittsburgh's next starter:
- Rudolph: Eight starts, 1,765 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, nine interceptions, 62.2 completion percentage.
- Hodges: Six starts, 1,063 passing yards, five touchdowns, eight interceptions, 62.5 completion percentage.
The Steelers don't necessarily need to turn to the draft for a backup quarterback. They could also add a veteran to serve in the role. It's unlikely that Cam Newton will choose to be a backup, but Jameis Winston, Blake Bortles or Joe Flacco could make sense.
Granted, that wouldn't solve the team's long-term quarterback needs. But it would be a solid backup plan if the team doesn't like the players available to them in this year's draft, especially considering Big Ben is under contract through the 2021 season.
And after missing almost all of the 2019 campaign, he's motivated to come back with a bang.
"I think it really put a little fire into me," he said on SiriusXM NFL Radio (h/t Chris Adamski of TribLive.com). "Like, '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 just come back and try to and better than ever.'"