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.

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Raiders, Rams, Jaguars and Bills all out of the running for Big Ben

At the start of the week, there was speculation that the Raiders, Rams, Jaguars and Bills were all trade possibilities for Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. But after the Rams and Bills both dropped out of the running on Wednesday, the Jaguars and Raiders followed suit today and now the Steelers don’t appear to have any viable trade partners heading into tonight’s draft.

In reality, the Raiders were the only team that made sense, because they’re the only team that wouldn’t care about Big Ben’s contract, off-field baggage and six-game suspension at the start of next season. There should be no bigger wake up call to a player then when even Al Davis doesn’t want you. (Actually, Davis probably doesn’t want Roethlisberger because he doesn’t want to admit that he made a colossal mistake by drafting JaMarcus Russell four years ago.)

According to ESPN’s John Clayton, the Cardinals have contacted the Steelers about a possible trade, but did not make an offer that would lead to a deal getting done soon. Ken Whisenhunt was Big Ben’s offensive coordinator for three years in Pittsburgh, so it would make sense that Arizona would be interested. But at the end of the day, Roethlisberger will likely still be a Steeler in 2010.

For now, the only thing Pittsburgh can do is ride out Ben’s suspension and hope he learns something from it. They’ll prepare for Week 1 with Bryon Leftwich and Dennis Dixon competing for the starting job, then figure out Roethlisberger’s future at a later time.

It could be a rough year in the “Steel City.”

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