Ben Roethlisberger has lost 15 pounds this offseason

Ben Roethlisberger has never been considered a trim man, but the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback was spotted recently at a University of Pittsburgh football practice looking thinner than we’ve seen in recent years.

Apparently it’s not an illusion.

According to Roethlisberger’s agent, Ryan Tollner, the big-boned quarterback has shed 15 pounds this offseason, thanks to a rigorous cardio workout regime.

Speaking with ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Tollner revealed the reason for the change:

“He couldn’t really work out because he kept getting hurt,” Tollner said. “I think he said after the season, you know what, I’m going to lose weight to alleviate potential pain in my joints.”

Indeed, there aren’t many quarterbacks in the game who have been as banged up as Roethlisberger over the years. After all the leg shots and hard hits he’s taken, one wonders if he’ll be able to walk down the hallway at age 50 without wincing.

Roethlisberger missed four games last year after a low hit caused damage to his MCL and gave him a wicked bone bruise that hurt more than the knee tear itself. He typically guts out multiple games every year due to minor injuries, but perhaps showing up to camp this year in better shape will allow for more mobility and less physical pain.