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Official: Roethlisberger suspended for 6 games; Could reduce to 4 games based on behavior

According to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has notified Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger that he must undergo comprehensive behavioral evaluation and is suspended by the league for six games.
According to Aiello, the league will review Ben’s progress prior to the season and consider reducing suspension to 4 games. Failure to cooperate and abide by the guidelines set fourth by the league, could lead to a longer suspension for Roethlisberger.
Whether Roethlisberger opens up the season with the Steelers is up for debate. The team has been engaged in trade talks surrounding their franchise quarterback.
A team source expects talks to intensify in the next 24-36 hours as the Steelers are going into draft day with an open mind, however, a trade remains unlikely.
Just a day after re-acquiring quarterback Byron Leftwich, the Steelers signed Leftwich to a one year extension today, according to Ed Bouchette. The contract extends through 2011.
Official statement from the league

Commissioner Roger Goodell notified Ben Roethlisberger he must undergo comprehensive behavioral evaluation and is suspended for six games. Goodell will review Roethlisberger’s progress prior to the season and consider reducing suspension to four games. Failure to cooperate could lead to longer suspension.
Commissioner Roger Goodell notified Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger today that he 1) must undergo a comprehensive behavioral evaluation by medical professionals and 2) will be suspended without pay for the first six games of the regular season for conduct detrimental to the NFL in violation of the league’s Personal Conduct Policy.
After consultation with Commissioner Goodell, Steelers President Are Rooney and the commissioner informed Roethlisberger by telephone today of the two-step approach that is designed to hold Roethlisberger accountable for his conduct and provide him an opportunity to change his behavior and establish himself as a responsible individual.
In a letter to Roethlisberger, Commissioner Goodell said that Roethlisberger must adhere to any counseling or treatment that is recommended by the professional evaluators to help him make better decisions and avoid situations that can cause legal or other problems. A professional behavioral evaluation is mandatory for anyone that has violated the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.
Roethlisberger may not attend any team off-season activity after today until he has completed the evaluation and the evaluating professionals confirm with the commissioner that Roethlisberger may resume football activities. If so cleared, Roethlisberger will be able to participate in training camp and preseason games this summer.
The commissioner said he would review Roethlisberger’s progress under the plan prior to the start of the regular season and consider whether to reduce the suspension to four games. Failure to cooperate and follow the plan could result in a longer suspension, the commissioner added.
“The Personal Conduct Policy makes clear that I may impose discipline ‘even where the conduct does not result in conviction of a crime’ as, for example, where the conduct ‘imposes inherent danger to the safety and well being of another person’,” Commissioner Goodell stated in his letter to Roethlisberger. “As the District Attorney concluded, the extensive investigatory record shows that you contributed to the irresponsible consumption of alcohol by purchasing (or facilitating the purchase of) alcoholic beverages for underage college students, at least some of whom were likely already intoxicated. There is no question that the excessive consumption of alcohol that evening put the students and yourself at risk. The Personal Conduct Policy also states that discipline is appropriate for conduct that ‘undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL players.’ By any measure, your conduct satisfies that standard.”
Commissioner Goodell said his review of the matter included the extensive volume of material released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Milledgeville Police Department; public comments by and a private conversation with Georgia District Attorney Fred Bright; comments and recommendations of Roethlisberger’s representatives; a personal interview with Roethlisberger on April 13; dialogue with current players, former players, the NFL Players Association, and others; and information learned by the NFL office in the course of examining the Milledgeville matter.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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