In response to a report from Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports that the NFL will suspend quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Monday or Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN says that it won’t come today.
So if Cole is right, this would mean that it’s coming . . . counting fingers . . . removing socks . . . engaging abacus . . . Tuesday.
Still, no one has addressed the reason for the change in the timing, given that Steelers president Art Rooney made it clear on April 15 that discipline wouldn’t come until the week after the draft, at the earliest. Apart from the potential P.R. benefits we pointed out last night, we’re hearing that some teams were complaining that it would be unfair for the Steelers to know before the draft the specific opponents they’ll face without Roethlisberger, with the opponents not knowing for sure whether to make their picks without knowing whether they’ll face the Steelers with Roethlisberger or Dennis Dixon at quarterback.
The fair outcome, then, will be for everyone to know before the draft the specific games that Roethlisberger will miss, in light of the fact that the schedule will be released on Tuesday.
It makes sense, and it means that the suspension needs to come on Thursday at the latest. The smarter move would be to announce it tomorrow afternoon, and then hope that the news of the new schedule will help nudge it out of the spotlight quickly.