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Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will definitively not be in uniform when the Ravens travel to Pittsburgh for their Week 4 game on Oct. 3.
The NFL announced Wednesday that it has suspended Roethlisberger six games for conduct detrimental to the NFL in violation of the league’s Personal Conduct Policy.
Prior to the start of the season, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will review Roethlisberger’s progress after a comprehensive behavioral evaluation by medical professionals to determine whether to reduce the suspension to four games.
So either way, Roethlisberger won’t face the Ravens the first time around. That means the Ravens will likely face backup quarterback Byron Leftwich, whom Pittsburgh traded a seventh-round pick for Tuesday, or Dennis Dixon, whom the Ravens beat in Baltimore last season.
In a letter to Roethlisberger, Goodell said that Roethlisberger must undergo any counseling or treatment that is recommended by professional evaluators to help him make better decisions and avoid situations that can cause legal or other problems.
“In your six years in the NFL, you have first thrilled and now disappointed a great many people,” Goodell said in the letter. “I urge you to take full advantage of this opportunity to get your life and career back on track.”
Roethlisberger is not allowed to participate in any offseason workouts until he has completed the evaluation and Goodell deems he is ready to return. If Roethlisberger does not cooperate with the plan, he could receive a longer suspension, Goodell noted.
“Your conduct raises sufficient concerns that I believe effective intervention now is the best step for your personal and professional welfare,” Goodell said in the letter.
This all comes amidst Wednesday’s ESPN report by Adam Schefter that the Steelers have begun contacting teams to see if they would be willing to trade a top 10 draft pick for Roethlisberger. At least one team has fielded the call and is debating it, according to Schefter’s source.