Commissioner Roger Goodell notified Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger Wednesday 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 Art 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.