Steelers to resume practice minus Roethlisberger


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The Steelers resume spring practices today, apparently without Ben Roethlisberger again.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has not cleared Roethlisberger to rejoin his teammates in their workouts at the team's facility.

The quarterback, however, joined teammates Monday in a round of chilly, wet golf at Southpointe Golf Club in Washington County. Roethlisberger annually plays in the Merril Hoge-Max Starks-Hines Ward charity event, and Monday was no exception.

Roethlisberger has completed the behavioral evaluation required by Goodell as part of his discipline of the Steelers' quarterback that includes a six-game suspension to start the season. That suspension will be reduced to four games, the commissioner said, if Roethlisberger complies with the stipulations handed down by Goodell. One of those was the completion of the behavioral evaluation. Although completed, Roethlisberger could be asked to return for further evaluation or therapy at the recommendation of the professionals who evaluated him.

While the Steelers await his return at some point before they conclude their remaining 12 OTA practices June 10, competition to replace him to open the season resumes today.

Coach Mike Tomlin has said the spring practices mean little in terms of who will start at quarterback and that they mean everything.

Asked on the final day of minicamp May 3 when he will pick a quarterback, Tomlin said, "The purpose of the offseason is to instruct. Organized team activity days are just that. They're for teaching. I'm less concerned about evaluation. Some of the evaluation-oriented things of course can't take place in shorts."

But last week, he was quoted on the Steelers' website that, indeed, he will know his starting quarterback when they open camp.

"In all likelihood, I won't say it, but the decision will be made," Tomlin said.

The only way to base that decision would be from spring OTAs, so this is one evaluation that will be made when the players are in shorts.

Byron Leftwich ran with the first team in minicamp after Roethlisberger ran the first team in the first OTA practices April 19-20 -- before he was suspended and banned from the team facility until further notice. Dennis Dixon ran with the second team and Charlie Batch was third.

Tomlin said all three would get their chances to run the first unit.

"The other guys will be given opportunities, no question," Tomlin said.

The Steelers will practice every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from now until June 10.


For more on the Steelers, read the blog, Ed Bouchette on the Steelers at www.post-gazette.com/plus . Ed Bouchette: ebouchette@post-gazette.com .


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