Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger says he plans on returning to football in 2020 after learning that he needs season-ending elbow surgery on Monday.
Roethlisberger was placed on the injured reserve by the team Monday afternoon and he is expected to have surgery at some point this week on his right, throwing elbow. The team has not revealed the exact nature of his injury.
The 37-year-old quarterback is in his team-record 16th season with the Steelers and is under contract through the end of the 2021 season thanks to a three-year extension signed this offseason that guarantees him $37.5 million. Roethlisberger says he plans on honoring that contract and returning to action in 2020.
“I’ve been informed that I need season ending surgery on my elbow to continue playing football at the level I expect,” he said in a statement released by the team. “This is shocking and heartbreaking for me, to miss this much of a season and feel like I am letting down so many people. I can only trust God’s plan, but I am completely determined to battle through this challenge and come back stronger than ever next season.
“The Steelers committed three years to me this offseason and I fully intend to honor my contract and reward them with championship level play. I will do all I can to support Mason [Rudolph] and the team this season to help win games. I love this game, my teammates, the Steelers organization and fans, and I feel in my heart I have a lot left to give.”
Second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph replaced Roethlisberger in the team’s 26-28 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday and is expected to remain in that role. The Steelers promoted third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges from the practice squad on Monday afternoon.