Steelers Mike Tomlin confident Ben Roethlisberger will return for 2020 season |

Steelers Mike Tomlin confident Ben Roethlisberger will return for 2020 season

Joe Rutter
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin reacts after the Seahawks score a third-quarter touchdown Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 at Heinz Field.

As quarterback Ben Roethlisberger awaits season-ending right elbow surgery, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has decided to wait until after the procedure before detailing the exact injury that has sidelined the 37-year-old indefinitely.

NFL Network reported Tuesday that Roethlisberger does not need Tommy John surgery, which involves repairing the ulnar collateral ligament and could have threatened his availability for 2020.

“I try to avoid getting into specifics in this forum,” Tomlin said at his weekly news conference. “A lot of those things will be confirmed when he gets that surgery. I’ll wait for that until I get into specific details about what they found and the prognosis in terms of the recovery.”

Tomlin didn’t know when Roethlisberger would have the surgery, saying details are being “hardened up.”

Like Roethlisberger, Tomlin expects his star quarterback to return for a 17th NFL season.

“He fully intends to come back from this injury and from everything we’ve heard, we’re comfortable that it is a strong possibility,” he said.

The Steelers placed free safety Sean Davis on injured reserve Tuesday, meaning he will miss at least the next eight weeks. Tomlin said that was a “significant” factor in the Steelers trading a 2020 first-round draft pick to the Miami Dolphins for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, the No. 11 overall pick in the 2018 draft.

Fitzpatrick played nearly a half-dozen positions in the Dolphins defense during his 18-game stay in Miami. Tomlin said Fitzpatrick will “anchor” at free safety while he learns the defensive scheme.

In other injury news, Tomlin ruled out fullback Roosevelt Nix with a knee injury. Questionable to play Sunday in San Francisco are running back James Conner (knee), inside linebacker Vince Williams (hamstring), outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo (foot) and cornerback Joe Haden (shoulder).

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
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