Ben Roethlisberger shocked NFL fans in March when he released a COVID-19 PSA. He had a massive, unruly beard at the time, but he has since trimmed the facial hair. He did so to announce that he is back and ready to work out with his teammates in anticipation of the 2020 NFL season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback posted a hype video on Monday that showed him in three stages of beard growth. He was clean-shaven in the beginning and was proclaiming his recovery from a season-ending elbow injury. He vowed not to cut his hair or trim his beard until he could throw an NFL pass to his teammates. The video then showed Roethlisberger dropping back with his quarantine beard and launching a pass to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Finally, Roethlisberger showed himself sitting in the chair at a barbershop.
"He's back. Stay tuned," Smith-Schuster said in the video. The young wide receiver showed his excitement for Roethlisberger's return by reposting the video on Twitter. Many other members of the Steelers organization followed suit, including Ryan Switzer, James Conner and Ramon Foster.
Simply throwing passes to his teammates at Quaker Valley High School in Leetsdale does not mean that Roethlisberger is ready to start 16 games, but it's a promising sign for the Steelers. The team suffered through a 2019 season in which Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges both started games. Pittsburgh finished the season at 8-8, narrowly missing the playoffs. The fans believe that Roethlisberger would have accounted for at least one more win had he not been shelved.
Roethlisberger initially suffered the elbow injury during a Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He initially hoped to avoid surgery, but this was not an option. The two-time Super Bowl champion underwent the season-ending procedure in September and started the countdown until he could return to the lineup.
The coronavirus has kept the majority of players at home in quarantine, but Roethlisberger will soon be able to return to the Steelers' facility. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf implemented a reopening plan, and Allegheny County entered the yellow phase on Friday. Individual businesses and facilities are allowed to reopen, which includes the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Starting Tuesday, Roethlisberger and other rehabbing players can return to the facility for continuing treatment.