On Monday a Tweet from Ben Roethlisberger’s Twitter account teased: “Feels good to be back out there with my guys!”
The message was accompanied by a video showing Ben Roethlisberger slinging passes to three of his teammates—JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Connor and Ryan Switzer—with Lecrae and Andy Mineo’s “Coming in Hot” as the soundtrack.
Perhaps I’m reading too much into the choice of music, but it’s conceivable that “Coming in Hot” is a message to Roethlisberger detractors who claim that Big Ben doesn’t pay enough attention to physical conditioning. It’s a sentiment recently buttressed by Jay Glazer, who, in a mailbag for The Athletic, wrote: “… Let’s not put the words fitness and Ben Roethlisberger together, they are allergic to each other…. His idea of a great off-season workout program is doing one yoga session, playing golf and drinking some beer.”
With that in mind, recall that “Coming in Hot” begins with the line:
“I don’t do the most but I do a lot. I’mma make a toast cuz we still alive.”
— BigBen7.com (@_BigBen7) May 18, 2020
Moreover, in the wake of the throwing session, Switzer reinforced the notion that Roethlisberger has been “leaving no stone unturned” in terms of rehabilitating from his elbow injury, telling Mark Kaboly of The Athletic that Big Ben has “worked like a workhorse this offseason in terms of getting with his trainer and getting with the guys he rehabs with. He really put the pedal to the metal…. I think he exhausted all efforts to get back to 100 percent, and that’s just from the outside looking in,” Switzer said.
Ben Roethlisberger’s ‘Secret’ Throwing Session
Apparently, Switzer has been catching passes from Roethlisberger since February, but he says the most recent outing—which Kaboly describes as a ‘secret’ throwing session, and one that marks a major milestone in Big Ben’s ongoing recovery from elbow surgery—has been something that Roethlisberger has been building towards for quite some time.
“There was no restraint, no hesitancy,” Switzer said. “He has been throwing like that for a while and, in my opinion at least, getting out there on that field for the first time and throwing full-speed routes was refreshing. The control factor was taken out of it. He was out there and he was throwing. Did some off-schedule stuff. No restraints. He threw everything—across his body. Everything.”
Switzer even reports that Smith-Schuster heard a pass that had that distinctive ‘singing’ sound. “You know, like when the ball cuts through the air and you can hear that ‘pfft-pfft-pfft’ sound?” Switzer said. “That’s what JuJu said it sounded like.”
Hearing that is music to the ears of Steelers fans, who have been anxiously awaiting news about the progress of Roethlisberger’s recovery.
Ben Roethlisberger’s Haircut
As for Roethlisberger’s haircut and beard trim—also a part of the above-referenced video clip—that turned into a news story all its own when Big Ben’s decision to go to a barber was criticized by Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf.
“When you go to something like a barbershop and you’re not protected, I don’t care who you are, the chances of that virus actually wreaking havoc on your life increases. I don’t personally think any Pennsylvanian ought to take that chance. I certainly don’t want to take that chance,” Wolf said.
This, in turn, prompted a response from Roethlisberger’s barber—actually, a statement issued by Carlos Norman’s attorney—who asserted that “Mr. Norman and Mr. Roethlisberger are close personal friends, and Mr. Norman’s use of his free time during closure to provide a haircut to his friend was a personal favor where no money was received and exchanged.”
It appears the statement is an attempt to sidestep any potential punishment for what could be seen as a violation of the governor’s shut-down order, which would be another news story all its own.