Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert does not believe Ben Roethlisberger "is at the end of the road" amid doubts over the quarterback following an elbow injury.
Roethlisberger underwent surgery on his right throwing elbow in September and was expected to make a full recovery and return for the 2020 NFL season, though question marks remain.
There has been speculation the 37-year-old – who turns 38 next month – and two-time Super Bowl champion could retire but Colbert said Roethlisberger is on track in his rehab.
"All signs are good at this point, and where that goes, we're hopeful he can make a complete recovery," Colbert said. "As of right now, he's on schedule for that. Where it goes from here remains to be seen.
"He had an injury to his right arm, but other than that, he's relatively healthy. We're not minimising the right arm injury to a right arm quarterback, but we don't think he's at the end of the road."
Colbert added: "Optimistically, [Roethlisberger] is on schedule to return and we hope to return to maybe even a better Ben Roethlisberger than he was previous to the injury.
"In the meantime, we understand who our backups are. We're comfortable with who those backups are. I thought they did a great, representable job in 2019 under the circumstances."
Steelers veteran Roethlisberger suffered the injury in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Roethlisberger, who hurt his right elbow in a 28-26 loss to the Seahawks, was seen shaking his throwing arm at various points during the first half of the team's home opener and even left for the locker room before returning to the sideline to play through the injury.
In April, the six-time Pro Bowler signed a two-year contract extension with the Steelers through the 2021 season.
Since being drafted by the Steelers in 2004, Roethlisberger has played 218 games, and completed 4,651 passes for 56,545 yards and 363 touchdowns.