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Ben Roethlisberger details elbow injury: ‘I felt a different pain.’

His right elbow had bothered Ben Roethlisberger before — “for quite a few years,” he admitted — and the veteran Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback felt a similar ache while running the offense against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 of the 2019 season.

No big deal, he thought. Nothing but typical soreness that eventually fades away in the competition of a game.

Then, Roethlisberger winced and grabbed his elbow after throwing a pass midway through the second quarter. It got worse when he let loose a deep throw for JuJu Smith-Schuster with less than four minutes left before halftime.

“I felt a different pain, a different discomfort than I had ever felt,” Roethlisberger said. “It was kind of shooting down my arm. I knew something was different at that moment.”

It was so different that his season, one that began with hopes of getting the Steelers back to the playoffs after a one-year absence, was soon over.

Roethlisberger headed to the locker room before the half was over, then never threw another pass the rest of the season.

The injury, which required season-ending surgery, doesn’t have a fancy title, Roethlisberger said. It wasn’t Tommy John surgery, in which a ligament is reconstructed.

This, too, was different.

Roethlisberger said he tore three of the five flexor tendons in his right elbow “off the bone.”

“It has happened to everyday people, but from what I’ve been told, it’s never happened to a quarterback of this magnitude,” Roethlisberger said. “I believe another quarterback had maybe one or two torn off, but not three, from what I understand.”

Roethlisberger detailed the extent of his injury Tuesday in a video conference call with reporters, the first time he has spoken publicly since prior to that September game against the Seahawks.

Roethlisberger admitted he was nervous and when asked about specifics of his injury, he quipped: “Well, I’m not a doctor, and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.”

Once the shock of having his 16th NFL season cut so short subsided, Roethlisberger was determined to return for Year 17 — at the ripe age of 38. In the interim, all he could do was stand on the sidelines and watch the Steelers go 8-8 without him, losing their final three games, and miss the playoffs for a second year in a row.

“I knew it hurt, and I knew I had some options, but I didn’t feel like I was done playing football,” Roethlisberger said. “I really felt I wanted to come back. I was excited about this team, and I just didn’t feel like — and I don’t feel — like I’m done. If there was a thought, it wasn’t a long one to stop.”

Roethlisberger began a light throwing program in February and began informal workouts in May. On Monday, he threw an assortment of passes to teammates at Heinz Field on the first day veterans could work out in this abbreviated training camp environment.

“My arm feels really good,” Roethlisberger said. “I threw a lot of balls yesterday, and I was kind of waking up today to see how it was going to feel. It feels great, and that is what I was kind of anticipating because we’ve been working more than usual in an offseason in terms of throwing.”

Roethlisberger estimates he threw 2-3 times per week in the run-up to training camp. He plans to continue with his regular camp throwing program — one full day, one partial day, one day off — as long as his elbow cooperates.

“I’ve had no setbacks,” Roethlisberger said. “It feels really, really good, so I’m real excited about that.”

Good enough that Roethlisberger, who is signed through 2021, has plans to keep playing beyond this season.

“I’m not saying I’ve got 10 years left in me, but I feel like I’ve got some good years in me,” he said. “That was definitely the motivating factor — coming back, showing I still have it in the tank, that I have a lot to give this team, that I had a lot to give the fans.

“I still want to win Lombardis, and I say that with a plural on the end.”

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