"The thing that's exciting about it is we might have a better Ben Roethlisberger coming out of this surgery," Colbert said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, according to ESPN's Brooke Pryor. "He sat for a year, didn't have wear and tear on his body for a year. Sure, he had a significant surgery, but we're optimistic he might be better."
Roethlisberger resumed throwing last week after undergoing surgery in September. He'll turn 38 years old in March, but the Steelers appear committed to him as their starter for the foreseeable future.
The quarterback isn't expected to be cleared for another two-to-three months, a timetable that gives him a chance of being ready for the start of the offseason program in late April.
Though Colbert acknowledged the two-time Super Bowl winner could deal with "rust" when he returns, the GM said his team is hopeful Roethlisberger's surgery was a positive long-term move.
"Physically, he should be better. The arm, who knows? His arm might be stronger coming out of this surgery," said Colbert. "Again, you never know the extent of an injury when it happens. When it happens, it happens. But how long was it bothering him without him even knowing it? So right now, we know where it is and we are optimistic that he might be better."
In 2018, Roethlisberger led the league with 5,129 yards and had a career-high 34 touchdown passes.