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article imageNFL: Big Ben's suspension reduced

By Michael Bearak     Sep 4, 2010 in Sports
Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his current suspension and progress he has made. The outcome favored the quarterback and Steelers.
Roger Goodell has long held the door open for Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to do the right thing and to learn from his mistakes. Since news broke back in March and he was subsequently suspended by the NFL in April of this year, Roethlisberger has done everything that Goodell and the league have asked him to do. Initially Roethlisberger was told he would sit for six games at the start of the 2010 NFL regular season, but it was clear that the NFL still could reduce that penalty if they felt Big Ben earned it. When training camps opened it was being reported that Roethlisberger was doing everything and more than had been laid out for him. Many theorized it was his way of proving he had become a changed man since being accused of sexually assaulting a college age woman in bar bathroom back in March.
Friday Goodell and Big Ben met outside of New York City at the Westchester County Airport. Steelers' president Art Rooney accompanied Roethlisberger to the meeting. The Steelers and Rooney have maintained contact with the NFL throughout thepast four months of evaluating and watching Big Ben. Rooney had previously made it clear that had the NFL not stepped in and suspended their quarterback they were prepared to take disciplinary measures of their own.
At Friday's meeting Goodell informed Roethlisberger that his suspension was going to be cut to four games, the fewest he would consider. He did go on to inform the quarterback that should he violate the leagues conduct policy again he would face further suspension.
After the meeting Rooney released a statement saying, "Commissioner Goodell informed us today that Ben Roethlisberger's suspension has been reduced to four games. Ben has done a good job this summer of growing as the person that he needs to be, both on and off the field. I am confident that Ben is committed to continuing in this positive direction. As a team, our focus is now on preparing for the regular season and getting off to a good start on opening weekend."
Ben Roethlisberger is the QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger is the QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers
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Roethlisberger's first game won't be until October 17th at the earliest. In the mean time he can't have any contact with the team, which includes practicing with them, representing them, or communications with players, coaches, training personnel, or otherwise. He is eligible to return to the team starting October 4th after the team's fourth game, they have a bye-week the following week which should give Roethlisberger a chance to get back into step with his teammates.
In the meantime Big Ben plans to head out to California to train with George Whitfield, a California-based quarterbacks coach. he is also planning on throwing some with free agent receivers who are looking to still sign on with teams. Currently a former Steeler, Merrill Hodge has also been serving as a mentor to Big Ben and the two figure to spend more time working together in the weeks to come.
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