While the exact nature of Ben Roethlisberger's right elbow injury remains unclear, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback does not need Tommy John surgery and will "be fine for next season," a league source told ESPN.
"There is complete optimism that he will be ready to roll next season," another source said. "No one is concerned that next year is going to be a problem."
Roethlisberger, 37, is expected to undergo season-ending elbow surgery this week, according to the first source.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said this past week that the details of Roethlisberger's injury will be confirmed post-surgery based on what doctors find out in the process. Tomlin then cited Roethlisberger's statement that he plans to honor his three-year contract that takes him through the 2021 season.
"He fully intends to come back from his injury, and everything we've heard, we're comfortable that's a strong possibility," Tomlin said.
As for this year, the Steelers are turning over the quarterback job to Mason Rudolph with confidence.
The Steelers have believed in Rudolph ever since they leapfrogged the Bengals in the third round of the 2017 draft to select the former Oklahoma State star before Cincinnati could. At the time, then-Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said it was as if the Steelers had Cincinnati's war room "bugged."
The Steelers believe in Rudolph, his talents and leadership, so much so that they were willing to trade their 2020 first-round pick to Miami for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick because they are confident they will not drop off much losing Roethlisberger.