Injuries can happen at nearly any time

Commentary

PITTSBURGH — It was just a routine practice on the last day of Steelers training camp in Latrobe.

Business as usual, a sleepy day in the monotonous drudgery of training camp.

Next thing anybody knew, Ben Roethlisberger was being checked for a concussion and everything changed.

A big part of the agenda in the preseason is keeping Roethlisberger away from contact and potential peril.

The crazy thing was they pretty much did that. Roethlisberger got bumped in what one teammate described as a “domino effect.”

It may turn out to be nothing, but it demonstrates again how fragile things can be.

Now that Roethlisberger is 35, there’s a lot of speculation about how much longer he might play.

Conventional wisdom holds he’s good for another two or three years, but who knows?

Roethlisberger has a concussion history. He also has a wife and three young children, and he has many, many millions in the bank.

Two or three more years would be nice, but there’s no guarantee that happens. The final decision on Roethlisberger’s career may be made by a doctor, or by his wife Ashley.

When we think about football concussions, we automatically think about a savage hit from a tackler.

But today was a reminder that it can happen under the most innocent of circumstances, too.

Scouting report

Some Steelers fans are divided into two distinct camps:

Those who think they could be an NFL offensive coordinator, and those who think they could be an NFL general manager.

The latter group should enjoy Thursday’s preseason game in Green Bay.

According to Mike Tomlin, the only quarterbacks he plans to play are numbers three and four on the depth chart — second-year man Josh Dobbs and rookie Mason Rudolph.

Given that Roethlisberger and Landry Jones are first and second on the depth chart, it’s difficult to see circumstances outside of an injury that would provide a regular-season roster spot for Dobbs.

Still, this is a great chance for the amateur GMs to hone their skills by watching two quarterbacks at game speed.

Just remember: They’ll play mostly with backups against backups. Keep it in context.

Rising price

Neal Huntington wasn’t kidding when he said the player to be named later in the Chris Archer trade would be significant.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that the final part of the deal is Shane Baz, who was the Pirates’ No. 1 draft pick last year.

Baz has a lot of potential but is probably five years away from the major leagues. A lot can happen between now and then, as the Pirates know from their experience with No. 1 picks who were high school pitchers.

Bobby Bradley never made the major leagues. Sean Burnett became an average pitcher. Jameson Taillon is at last showing promise this season in a career that’s been derailed at times by injuries and illness.

It appears the Pirates gave up a lot, but it will be years before this trade can be evaluated.

For now, the Pirates got what they wanted, an experienced starting pitcher they can hold onto for several years. The Rays got what they wanted, too, a bundle of potential.

Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com.

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