Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passes at a practice session on the opening day of Organized Team Activities at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 in Pittsburgh. Special to PennLive(Barry Reeger)
PITTSBURGH -- After hosting his pro football camp in mid-June, Ben Roethlisberger was off into the quiet summer, which he says is an inexact process as it relates to preparation for Pittsburgh Steelers training camp.
His 15th camp approaches, leaving Roethlisberger searching for a balance between rest and readiness.
"It's a fine line I walk at this age, of resting and getting my body enough rest for the season and working out to prepare," said Roethlisberger, 36, before retreating for some down time like the rest of his teammates. "My trainer will get me as prepared as I can be. But it is a fine line of what you can do at this age."
How does he navigate that line? He pays trainers to define it, he says.
"You've got to listen to your body," Roethlisberger said, "any aches and pains you might have, your arm being sore if you're throwing too much, just things like that."
Roethlisberger has hosted team workouts at his summer home in Waconia, Georgia, in past years and could do so again.
Once camp begins, the Steelers are intentional with Roethlisberger's usage, giving him days off as a way to keep a prized investment fresh for 17 weeks. They probably will do the same starting in late July at St. Vincent College, especially with backups Landry Jones, Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph needing reps.
Some days, Roethlisberger will spend the latter portions of practices with ice on his shoulder or knees as veteran maintenance.
In perhaps a shrinking championship window with the Steelers' core offensive players intact, Roethlisberger eyes a third Super Bowl and enters a de facto contract year that he's not fretting.
But Roethlisberger will focus on fatherhood before the third-down conversions. At his camp, the QB threw a pass to Ben, one of his three children. Roethlisberger said he wants to be as good a father as his own, Ken.
"This is my job on Sundays -- the rest of the week and the rest of the year [fatherhood] is something I do and I enjoy doing," Roethlisberger said. "I want my kids and these other kids to know the joy that it brings to me."
Roethlisberger says he doesn't monitor social media, but he figures Antonio Brown will continue to have his back on it this summer. Brown posted a message to Big Ben around Father's Day and cleverly defended him in light of NFL Network analyst David Carr's comments that Roethlisberger is not a top-10 quarterback.
"[Brown's support] means a lot because he's the best in the world," Roethlisberger said.