He revealed as much during an appearance on NFL Network's Good Morning Football:
"Honestly, I think it's going to be a big year for us," he said. "I was very happy with the draft picks we got, being able to draft a running back, being able to draft [Chase] Claypool. Good defense. We already had a solid defense. Our missing piece was Ben. I think coming up this year, it's going to be a great year for us. ... Just wait. Honestly, I just gotta say just wait and let our pads do the talking."
Big Ben played just two games last season before undergoing elbow surgery in September.
While he is a physical quarterback who has never backed away from contact and missed games at times, Roethlisberger has been fairly durable under center. He played double-digit games every season of his career that started in 2004 until the 2019 campaign.
The Steelers released video of the signal-caller throwing with Smith-Schuster, which also turned heads because he got the haircut he said he wouldn't until he could throw at full strength again following the surgery:
Pittsburgh managed to go 8-8 in 2019 even with Roethlisberger's injury and running back James Conner appearing in just 10 games. It was also the team's first season since both Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown left.
There are plenty of questions about Roethlisberger heading into the 2020 season following his injury, especially since he is 38 years old. It is likely unrealistic to expect the six-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion to play like he did in his prime, although he isn't far removed from leading the league in passing yards in 2018 with 5,129.
His presence should help Smith-Schuster bounce back as well considering the USC product finished last year with 512 receiving yards after tallying 1,426 in 2018.