Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season; Drew Brees could miss significant time

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger stands on the sideline during the second half of his team's loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in Pittsburgh.
(Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)

Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season.

The longtime Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback left Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks at halftime with obvious pain in his right elbow. Coach Mike Tomlin released a statement Monday declaring the 37-year-old player’s 16th season over after 1½ games.

“Ben Roethlisberger had an MRI on his right elbow Sunday evening and it was determined by the Steelers’ medical team that surgery will be required,” Tomlin stated. “We expect the surgery will be scheduled for this week. He will be placed on our Reserve/Injured List and is out for the season.”

Roethlisberger later released a statement regarding the decision:


“I’ve been informed that I need season ending surgery on my elbow to continue playing football at the level I expect. 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 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.”

Antonio Brown denied an allegation of sexual misconduct that surfaced Monday in an article by Sports Illustrated.

Second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph saw his first NFL action in Roethlisberger’s absence on Sunday and nearly led the Steelers to a comeback victory. He completed 12 of 19 passes for 112 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. His three-yard touchdown pass to Vance McDonald pulled the Steelers to within 28-26 with 5 minutes, 37 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, but Russell Wilson and the Seahawks were able to run out the clock for the win.

Roethlisberger was drafted 11th overall by the Steelers in 2004 and has led the team to three Super Bowl appearances, including two victories.

He isn’t the only veteran quarterback who might be missing significant time. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has a torn ligament near the thumb of his throwing hand and is expected to be out at least six weeks, a person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press. Brees injured his hand on a hit by the Rams’ Aaron Donald early in the Saints’ 27-9 loss Sunday.