On Thursday, Steelers president Art Rooney said that the team would be working with the league regarding the imposition of discipline on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and that no suspension would be imminent. “I don’t expect we will be announcing any final decisions until the week
after the draft, at the earliest,” Rooney said.
On the surface, it’s a smart move. With the schedule being released on Tuesday night and the draft launching Thursday, the announcement of a Roethlisberger suspension would serve only to distract from a week of great NFL news and events.
Then again, maybe the league in its infinite P.R. wisdom (and we’re not being sarcastic, for a change) has decided to slip the suspension through the five hole during a week in which we’re otherwise waiting for the schedule on Tuesday and focusing on the draft, which starts Thursday. If the league announces the suspension in the middle of Tuesday afternoon, the dominant Wednesday morning news in every market but Pittsburgh will be local team’s (teams’) schedule. Then the draft will take over and by the following Monday we’ll still be breaking down the picks and getting ready for minicamps.
If the league holds the suspension until the week after the draft, it’ll take on a life of its own.
And so maybe it makes sense that, as Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports, the NFL will announce a suspension of Roethlisberger on Monday or Tuesday. Of this week.
Per Cole, Roethlisberger is unlikely to fight the suspension.
That said, we don’t rule out an appeal if Roethlisberger gets slapped with more than four games. In that case, an appeal could persuade Commissioner Roger Goodell to reduce the penalty, creating maximum impact in connection with the initial announcement and then generating a sense that the Personal Conduct Policy currently works as written, even though Goodell issues the penalty and presides over the appeal of his own decision.
We’re thinking the end result will be four games. We won’t be surprised if it’s eight.
Either way, it looks like we’ll have the answer soon.