Reporting John Shumway
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — At Steelers’ Coach Mike Tomlin’s weekly news conference on Tuesday afternoon, it kind of sounded like Ben Roethlisberger might be back on the field this weekend.
But in true Coach Tomlin fashion, he didn’t exactly say it was a done deal.
Last Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens made Charlie believers all over, but his coach was always one.
“We’re happy for and proud of Charlie,” said Tomlin. “He made all the necessary plays for us, not only in terms of what he did physically, but emotionally. He was solid throughout, did an awesome job of communicating but we’ve come to expect that from him.”
But the job still belongs to Roethlisberger when healthy.
“Ben is getting closer to heath,” added Tomlin. “He threw yesterday, and I guess it could be described as successfully.”
“I think he will play because he’s always the type who could still be hurt and he’s not going to show it and he’s ready to get back out there,” said Steelers fan Sara Talerico, of Friendship.
But the coach says it’s not that simple.
“We’ll see what it looks like on a football field tomorrow,” said Tomlin. “He’ll be given an opportunity to prove he is healthy.”
For the first time on Tuesday, Tomlin acknowledged what Roethlisberger said after the injury – that there was a life-threatening quality to the rib fracture.
“The chances of that were extremely rare and minimal,” he said.
And that risk has now passed.
“We really need Ben, but Charlie Batch is doing a hell of a job right now,” said Melvin Daniels, a Steelers fan from the Hill District.
And Tomlin made it crystal clear today that until Roethlisberger can prove he can do it…
“Charlie is our guy, and we’re building our plan around what he is capable of, and we’ll see what Ben can prove to us here during the early portion of the week,” said Tomlin.