Question of the day: Will Ben Roethlisberger stay out of trouble, and how long will he stay with the Steelers? [Updated]
Ken Murray, The Baltimore Sun
It would make a wonderful feel-good story if Ben Roethlisberger were to divorce himself from his unsavory past and find deliverance in his football future. Personally, I hope that happens. But I stopped believing in the tooth fairy a long time ago.
It's obvious Roethlisberger needs help. If you read his statement about the NFL's suspension, you had to be disappointed. He was sorry for his teammates, the Steelers' fan base and himself. But nowhere in those three paragraphs was there even a remote hint of remorse for the young woman/women.
He stated, correctly, that he committed no crime. And, yes, he may fear a civil suit from her. But Roethlisberger doesn't begin to take the first steps to recovery until he acknowledges what he's done. I give him a year and a half in Pittsburgh.
Bill Kline, The Morning Call
Ben Roethlisberger's six-game suspension is so steep it must be based on more than his two high-profile but crime-free incidents. Have to believe NFL investigators, uh, uncovered much more about Roethlisberger's lurid lifestyle.
That's why his demons are going to be much more difficult than a Baltimore Ravens' third-down blitz to beat.
Sure, Roethlisberger is too scared now to venture out after dark. And the Steelers will keep him out of trouble through the season.
But once Pittsburgh's season ends in early 2011, he'll get the taste for the night life once more, and his handlers -- or should we call them his enablers? -- again will let him down.
We'll give Roethlisberger one more year in a Steeler uniform, figuring the clock in Big Ben's tower will strike midnight at about this time next year.
[Updated at 10:12 a.m.:
Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune
Ben Roethlisberger has been warned before. But he never has cared enough to change his behavior. Maybe the scrutiny of his latest episode will wake him up. He's lost a lot of respect. He's going to lose a lot of money. And he nearly lost his job, as the Steelers were talking about trading him prior to the draft.
It looks like he is going to stay put in Pittsburgh for now -- at least as long as he stays on the straight and narrow. He's saying all the right things. But doing them is something else entirely. There is hope for Roethlisberger. He is a young man who can learn from his mistakes. Hopefully, he will be smart enough to do so.]
[Updated at 11:17 a.m.:
Joseph Schwerdt, Sun-Sentinel
The Steelers may have shopped Ben Roethlisberger during the draft. But with no quarterback selected -- despite quality arms available -- and only a pre-draft trade made for Byron Leftwich, it seems certain that Roethlisberger will remain in Pittsburgh at least for the upcoming season.
Whether Big Ben can change his behavior is another question. Human beings are creatures of comfort and habit. We seek out people and places with which we are familiar. We surround ourselves with acquaintances -- often no matter their negative influence. We go to places we enjoy, no matter what danger lurks. For some pro football players unfortunately, that means strip clubs or dog fights. For Roethlisberger, that means college bars with friends who enable bad behavior.
Roethlisberger is a Steeler, not a Bengal, but it’s hard to believe he can change his stripes.]
Photo: Ben Roethlisberger with the Steelers in January 2008. Credit: Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press