Pittsburgh Steelers Still Preparing Ben Roethlisberger

June 3, 2010- By Jonathan Lowell

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to be successful when he returns to play after serving a six-game suspension.  The Steelers have not said what they are doing specifically to help Roethlisberger, but there has been a behavioral evaluation conducted on the quarterback.

Roethlisberger was suspended this off-season after a 20-year old college student accused him of sexual assault in March.  After an investigation by police, no charges were filed.  This is the second major conduct violation by Roethlisberger after he was accused of a similar crime by a hotel host at Lake Tahoe in 2008.

Part of the steps taken to make sure Roethlisberger comes back focused is coach Mike Tomlin’s daily conferences with his quarterback.  Tomlin is making sure that “big Ben” is still focused on winning in 2010.

“He has a commitment to being what we desire for him to be and what his team needs him to be and that’s my focus,” Tomlin said. “I’ve seen Ben quite a bit and communicated with him quite a bit throughout all of this.”

The suspension set by the league could be reduced to four games under the discretion of commissioner Roger Goodell if Roethlisberger shows good behavior and the will to change.  The Steelers say any measures taken with Roethlisberger are not meant to ensure that he comes back early, but to ensure that history does not repeat itself.

“We’re doing a lot of things with Ben in terms of dealing with this situation, [and] not for the sole purpose of meeting the criteria so he can participate,” Tomlin said. “More than anything, it’s about making proper corrections and moving forward with football and with his life. That’s the spirit with which we’re doing the things that we’re doing.”

Practice began without the presence of Roethlisberger while he underwent the behavioral evaluation by the league.  He was allowed to practice with the team after the evaluation was reviewed.  Tuesday he was on the field and Wednesday he played with the first team.  Tomlin hasn’t said how he plans to get two quarterbacks ready for the regular season.

“What we really want to do is give Ben quality reps so he can get reacclimated and improve and work on his game,” Tomlin said. “And we want to continue to give Dennis [Dixon] his reps because he is a young guy. For the purpose of this week, if there’s a reduction it is going to be at the expense of Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch.”

If the full suspension stands, Roethlisberger won’t be able to return to the field until October 31 against the New Orleans Saints.  If the suspension is shortened to four games, he will be eligible to play October 17 versus the Cleveland Browns.

USA Sportsbooks
have set the Steelers chances of winning Super Bowl XLV at 20/1.

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