Goodell: Ruling On Big Ben Later This Month

The league commish says he may reduce Ben's suspension before Week 1.

By Drew Magary
|  Friday, Aug 6, 2010  |  Updated 2:30 PM EDT
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Goodell: Ruling On Big Ben Later This Month

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Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers has been accused of sexual assault for the second time.

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Ben Roethlisberger has been out of the news of late, which was almost certainly his plan. After being slapped with a suspension for sexual assault allegations, Roethlisberger has kept his profile so low, he’s practically been living underwater.

If he can keep it up for the rest of this month, he may soon find himself with a reduced suspension. League commish Roger “The Ginger Hammer” Goddell visited Steelers camp on Thursday and indicated he could decide to reduce Big Ben’s punishment to four games at the end of the month.

"I'm very encouraged by what he's doing," Goodell said of Roethlisberger. "I'll take the period of time that I have before making the decision and make it probably right before the regular season."

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that a reduction of Big Ben’s suspension is all but a slam dunk at this point. While Goodell may be a disciplinarian on the surface of things, he actually has a history of leniency in certain instances.

He gave Michael Vick a reduced suspension after Vick was released from prison. He indicated he would clear Plaxico Burress to play if Burress was granted work release from New York prison. He didn’t suspend Vick this summer after the shooting incident at his birthday party. Goodell, despite outward appearances, can be a softie if you catch him in the right mood.

Big Ben is no Einstein, but even he’s smart enough to know that laying low virtually guarantees a reduced suspension. If he can get cleared to play after Week 4, he’ll return October 17th against Cleveland, a game the Steelers will desperately want to win after a brutal early stretch.

If Goodell upholds the six-game suspension, Big Ben won’t return until Halloween against New Orleans. That may be too late to salvage Pittsburgh’s season. Expect Roethlisberger out there against the Browns. Guaranteed.

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