LATROBE, PA. (AP) - Ben Roethlisberger got a thumb’s up from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and praise for the way he’s reshaping his life. What’s missing for now is a reduction of his six-game suspension.
Goodell met with Roethlisberger while visiting the Steelers’ training camp on Thursday but, while saying the quarterback is going beyond what the league is mandating, didn’t cut his suspension for bad behavior to four games.
The NFL will continue to monitor Roethlisberger’s progress before he and Goodell meet in New York later this month and the commissioner makes a final decision on how long the Steelers star will be out. A reduction would allow Roethlisberger to play Oct. 17 at home against Cleveland rather than Oct. 31 at New Orleans.
“I’m very encouraged by what he’s doing,” Goodell said. “I’ll take the period of time that I have before making the decision and make it probably right before the regular season.”
Asked what the league still needs to see, Goodell said, “He’s got to work through the program that’s designed for him to help him. A lot of that is confidential, but he’s done it and he’s done it with enthusiasm. I think that’s a good thing.”
Goodell was vague when asked several times if Roethlisberger’s suspension could be reduced even further. Later, league officials clarified that the commissioner’s April 21 ruling specified a minimum of four games for his alleged sexual assault on a college student early March 5 in Milledgeville, Ga.
“We created a framework of four to six weeks and I don’t see any reason to change that,” Goodell said later Thursday during a visit to the Browns camp in Berea, Ohio.
“I think he’s doing great,” Goodell said. “I had a chance to chat with him … and I’m very encouraged by what I’m seeing. I think he’s understanding the seriousness of the issue and is working to improve and to make better decisions. I think that’s a very positive development.”
“He hasn’t just done what he’s been told to do, I think he’s worked hard to really try to improve and focus on himself and understand what he’s been though and what he’s going to do differently going forward,” Goodell said. “I think that’s a very positive thing.”
Besides trying to be more fan friendly at camp _ he signs autographs for a half-hour almost daily _ Roethlisberger has made several unpublicized appearances to serve dinners for the Salvation Army and to visit with the families of seriously ill children.
“He’s the commissioner of the league,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s the boss of the bosses, and he has the right to do what he feels right to make his league run the way that he wants it to be run. It’s a tough job. I can’t say it’s easy because he’s got a lot of responsibilities and a lot of people to look over. So he’s doing what he feels is right.”View Entire Story
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