Saturday afternoon's preseason game against the Tennessee Titans will be the final tune up for the regular season for many of the starters, and Ben Roethlisberger doesn't know how long he will be out there, but he is looking forward to playing for the first time this preseason.
"I am not really sure. I haven't spoken to Coach (Mike Tomlin) on it," said Roethlisberger of how many series he thinks he will play. "I am excited to get out there. I am sure there will be some jitters and rust. It will be good to get out there with the guys.
"Just to get out there. Usually the amount of plays determines how we do series wise, are you going three-and-out, are you sustaining drives. Things like that. It's the first time we all will be together on the field at the same time, so it would be nice to put together a couple of drives and find a way to finish them off and stay healthy."
Those jitters, that excitement is something that comes naturally for all players the first time they hit the field each season, whether you are a rookie or a 15-year veteran like Roethlisberger.
"It's live action," said Roethlisberger. "We have been at practice and everything gets a little faster, a little quicker. I hope I don't get hit, but it's always good to knock that rust off too at some point."
Roethlisberger took a hit in training camp that had everyone holding their breath for a few minutes. In the team's final practice in Latrobe, Marcus Gilbert's arm hit Roethlisberger's helmet, and Roethlisberger went to the ground. He went into concussion protocol, but he never had a concussion.
"You don't expect to get hit, and then to get hit from the blind side," said Roethlisberger. "Gil just happened to be pushing the guy around and caught me just right. It knocked the wind out of me a little bit too."
Roethlisberger left the field, and quickly went through testing, but it didn't take long to know he was okay.
"(It was) pretty quick," said Roethlisberger. "I think the scary thing is the verbiage, concussion protocol. I think what a lot of people don't realize, players included, that doesn't mean you have a concussion. You go into a protocol system to get tested for a concussion. Right away no symptoms. I took the test when I got back to the facility, then when we got back here and everything came back perfect. I think everyone, because of the reporting and lack of knowledge, assumed I had a concussion but I never did. That was the good thing.
"Hopefully the hardest hit I take all year is from Gilbert and then we can laugh about it at the end of the year."
More from Ben:
On if he likes where he as far as how much throwing he has done:
For sure. We kind of had this formula for the last couple of years of full day, half-day, off day, and I feel healthy. My arm feels good. So now it is just a matter of transitioning that to the game field.
On his strong training camp and what kind of example do you try to set year to year as you start the first few weeks:
How do I feel. Whether that is my arm, my shoulder, my elbow, knees, ankles. Just general feeling of my body and I think it felt great. My arm feels stronger than it ever has. So, I think that's always the big key after practice. How many times am I putting ice on my body? I think it was one time this year at camp so that is a good sign.
On if that is a result of his offseason training:
Has to be, yeah.
On his reaction to Jalen Ramsey comments:
The awesome thing about this country we live in, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think he's a fantastic football player. We play them at some point and they got the best of us last year, so I guess he has the right to say whatever he wants.