Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has yet to see his franchise quarterback throw a football but reports from his medical team on Ben Roethlisberger's injured throwing elbow are encouraging.
The 38-year-old underwent surgery on his right elbow in September last year after appearing in just two games of the 2019 season.
Roethlisberger will be entering his 17th NFL season and ranks fifth among active quarterbacks with 363 passing touchdowns and fourth with 56,545 yards.
"It's hearsay because I have not witnessed his workouts," Tomlin said of the 2004 first-round pick during a Zoom media call.
"I have communicated with him consistently throughout. He's comfortable and pleased with where he is.
"Some of the people that have had an opportunity to work out with him have been impressed and are pleased with where he is.
"The medical experts are comfortable with where he is in the rehabilitation process and the overall trajectory of his readiness for 2020. Those things being said, I'm comfortable with where he is."
With Roethlisberger absent, Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges struggled in his place.
The two combined for 18 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, the Steelers averaging 186.3 passing yards from Week 3 through the end of the season – ranking them 31st in the NFL.
The Steelers are due to play their first preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys on August 7 as part of their preparations ahead of a Week 1 trip to the New York Giants.
That opener is due to take place on September 14 and while the coronavirus pandemic has cast doubts over the planned schedule, Tomlin has a positive outlook over the 2020 season.
"I'm hopeful. I am always an optimistic person," said Tomlin, who also said he expects to play preseason games.
"I have been a part of the process. When you are a part of the process, I sit on committees, I've had intimate conversations with logistical people and professionals.
"There is probably greater comfort when you are part of the process than when you are on the outside, so it allows me to be optimistic about both things."