“Last year, coming off that surgery, nobody knew, really. I didn’t see his arm deteriorate as the season went on. We deteriorated as a team. We just weren’t as good.” — Steelers GM Kevin Colbert.

From Teresa Varley, Steelers.com:

General Manager Kevin Colbert typically kicks off each Steelers training camp with a media availability that covers a wide range of topics and procedures, while also filling in some of the gaps to help explain what the team did during the offseason and why those things were deemed important at the time. But no matter what Colbert was asked Tuesday, and then what his answer happened to be, a theme emerged and carried through the whole session.

And that theme was contained in four words within one of the first sentences he spoke into the microphone.

“The one thing we really want to think about and talk about is it’s an unusual year.”

“An unusual year”.

That’s a big statement, coming as it does following a year that was significantly impacted by COVID, to the degree that most regular season games were played in empty stadiums and some of those kicked off during the middle of the week.

But there can be no argument that “unusual” is an apt description for the kind of offseason it has been for the Steelers. It started with hammering out an agreement with Ben Roethlisberger to come to an agreement on his contract that would serve the dual purpose of bringing him back for his 18th season while also leaving the Steelers with sufficient resources to make the necessary personnel moves the offseason would require.

“To go back to what Ben did for us back in the spring, by taking a restructuring of his contract, which was done with really two purposes in mind,” said Colbert. “The first – his being able to be here, and then also allowing us to do some things financially and-cap wise that we probably wouldn’t have been able to do without that. It was a very unselfish move on his part.”

You can read the rest of his interview here.