Steelers and NFL Will Punish Ben Roethlisberger
In announcing that the Pittsburgh Steelers and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will take coordinated disciplinary action against Ben Roethlisberger, team President Art Rooney II said Thursday that whatever the penalty, it would be just the start for the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
"After imposing an appropriate level of discipline and outlining the steps we feel will be necessary to be a successful player and person, we intend to allow Ben the opportunity to prove to us that he is the teammate and citizen we all believe he is capable of being," Rooney said.
"And we hope the entire Steelers community will allow Ben the opportunity to prove to them that he deserves their trust and respect."
A district attorney in Georgia said Monday that he would not file criminal charges against Roethlisberger in connection with a sexual assault complaint filed March 5 by a 20-year-old college student. District Attorney Fred Bright cited a lack of evidence.
Rooney said the punishment wouldn't come until at least the week after next. The NFL announces its schedule Tuesday and the three-day draft begins Thursday. But Rooney said the timing was based on Goodell's desire to have a "couple of weeks to further review the matter."
Authorities in Georgia on Thursday publicly released a 572-page file compiled during the month-long investigation of the case.
Rooney said he wanted to make it clear that the discipline would come from the Steelers and Goodell. Team discipline can be taken to arbitration before a special master. When Goodell imposes discipline under the NFL's personal-conduct policy, appeals go to the commissioner.
Roethlisberger joined the team's conditioning program this week. It begins on-field practices Monday.