Big Ben throws three touchdown passes in return – no big deal.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger pauses during warm ups before his first NFL football game back from a four-game suspension in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 17, 2010. The Steelers will face the Cleveland Browns. REUTERS/ Jason Cohn (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The last time Ben Roethlisberger took a snap from under center, Julius Peppers was still a Panther, Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush were still together and MySpace was still more popular than Facebook. (Just kidding. Like MySpace could ever be more popular than FB. “Like.”)

With that in mind, you’ll have to excuse Big Ben for throwing a pick on the Steelers’ first possession and struggling through the first two quarters of his return. Because once he shook off the rust, he was brilliant.

In the Steelers’ 28-10 win over the Browns on Sunday, Big Ben completed 16-of-27 passes for 257 yards, three touchdowns and just the one interception. He hit Hines Ward and Heath Miller for red zone touchdowns in the second half and slung a 29-yard TD to Mike Wallace in the second quarter. He also didn’t take a sack, which is rather amazing considering this was his first game action since January 3rd of this year.

Roethlisberger will receive a stiffer test next week against the Dolphins, but he and the Steelers had to have loved his 2010 debut. To celebrate, maybe he should go out with some of the fellas and bar hop a little. You know, kick a few back, meet some ladies, hit up a few parties.

I kid, I kid. Grab a freaking book and turn in early, Ben.

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Goodell to review Roethlisberger’s “behavioral evaluation” within the week

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told the media at the owners meetings on Tuesday that he would review the behavioral evaluation he ordered as part of Ben Roethlisberger’s six-game suspension within a week. If Goodell determines that Big Ben has made progress, then he may allow the quarterback to rejoin the Steelers for offseason workouts.

What I would like to know is what process Goodell is planning to take when determining whether or not Roethlisberger should have the privilege to return to his team. What is Goodell going to do, send Big Ben into a crowded bar filled with horny chicks to see if he’ll behave himself? I’m not trying to sound insensitive in light of the previous allegations against Roethlisberger, but seriously – how is Goodell going to know whether or not the QB is worthy enough to return to football?

Furthermore, how is Goodell going to determine whether or not he should lighten Big Ben’s suspension from six to four games? Anyone can behave themselves for a month if they want something bad enough. Who’s to say that Roethlisberger has learned anything? Does Goodell have a couple of eagle scouts watching the quarterback’s every move?

I guess Goodell will just have to go with his gut and trust that Roethlisberger has suffered enough embarrassment to have changed (or is in the process of changing). I don’t doubt that the commissioner is taking this matter seriously, but I would love to find out what constitutes Big Ben learning his lesson and therefore, what it is that he did to earn a four-game suspension over a six-game penalty if that is indeed the outcome here.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Big Ben finishes behavioral evaluation, but will he change?

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has completed his behavioral evaluation ordered by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

The behavioral evaluations are just part of Roethlisberger’s punishment after he was accused of sexual assault for the second time in less than a year. If he fulfills his requirements, Goodell may reduce the quarterback’s suspension from six to four games and while Big Ben’s camp is hopeful that he’ll be able to participate in team activities soon, the Steelers have no timetable for his return.

Goodell is doing a thorough job in this situation, but who knows if Big Ben has learned anything – or will learn anything. He may be fulfilling his requirements in order to get back on the field, but that doesn’t mean he has changed. Has he been humbled by this experience? Will he make smarter decisions in the future? Will he strive not to put himself in situations where it may lead to him getting into more trouble?

Roethlisberger is a young, single guy. To think he’s going to spend the rest of his football career staying at home and nuzzling up to the fireplace while watching HGTV and sipping a glass of wine is unrealistic. But in order for him to avoid future punishment and embarrassment, he needs to improve his decision-making. Steeler fans can only hope that this process will lead to a wiser, more humbled Ben Roethlisberger.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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