Seven O’Clock Shadow

By: Jordan Defigio

Who could have predicted the kind of frenzy one man shaving his beard would produce?

Steeler Nation, that’s who.

Back when Ben Roethlisberger first received the news that his elbow injury would require surgery, he made a vow.

“I’m not gonna shave or cut my hair until I can throw a football again.”

When asked for clarity on what kind of throw he was talking about, he followed it up by saying, “like, throw it to one of my teammates. Like, a legit NFL pass.”

The goal was set. The expectation in place. The standard, as always, the standard. And we all knew what to be on the lookout for. 

The injury, which he sustained in week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks last year, sidelined Roethlisberger for the rest of the 2019 season, marking it as the first season in which he did not play at least 11 games. It left everyone with a bitter taste in our mouths, and it dashed all hopes of a bounce-back season after the Pittsburgh Steelers missed the playoffs in 2018.

So when Roethlisberger met with doctors in February to find out if he would be cleared to begin throwing again, starting with tennis balls, the city of Pittsburgh held its breath. If he got the ok, the chances of him starting in week 1 significantly increased. If he didn’t, well, questions of recovery and career longevity and retirement would return, and not a single Steelers fan wanted to entertain that thought. Instead, we waited. And when news did break that he was cleared, not only to throw again, but to throw an actual football again, Pittsburgh fans everywhere celebrated like we had clinched the division. After what had been one of the more confusing and frustrating seasons for Steelers fans, we finally had good news. The best news of the year.

Until Monday.

When it happened.

Ben shaved.

Ben trimmed his hair.

To break the news, he posted a hype video of epic proportions. Not only of that momentous event, but also showcasing him throwing tight spirals to Juju Smith-Schuster and a second receiver who appeared to be Ryan Switzer. And in doing so, he put to rest any claims that he is out of shape (or so much as looks it). Roethlisberger is ready to roll. By the looks of it, so is Juju, who was beaming as he addressed the camera sharing a sly, “He’s baaaaaaack. Stay tuned.”

We will stay tuned. We all will. And the other 31 teams need to look out. Big Ben is the comeback player to watch this season, no doubt about it, and no. 7 will only be satisfied if it ends with ring no. 7.

More to come.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *