Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger runs a passing drill on the first day of mandatory off-season workouts.
By Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The first round of the National Football League draft passed Thursday night without a trade involving Ben Roethlisberger, and for good reason.
The Steelers are not actively trying to trade their suspended quarterback and intend to keep him and help get his life and career back on track in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has learned.
Despite several national reports that they have been actively calling other teams seeking to deal their two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, the Steelers are planning to move forward with Roethlisberger, 28, once he completes the terms of the six-game suspension handed down Wednesday by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
At least two NFL coaches and general managers said they were not been contacted by the Steelers, nor were they aware of other teams being contacted specifically about a draft-day trade involving Roethlisberger.
While the Steelers never ruled out the possibility of trading Roethlisberger, team sources have told the Post-Gazette it would have taken a blockbuster deal for them to consider parting with him.
Not surprisingly, then, most of the first round of the draft came and went Thursday night without any trades involving Roethlisberger.
Even one of the teams that was rumored to have an interest in a possible deal for Roethlisberger -- the Oakland Raiders -- used the eighth pick to select Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain.
In fact, director of football operations Kevin Colbert said the only trade discussions during the first round came when several teams below the Steelers called to see about swapping spots to move up. Not only did the discussions not involve Roethlisberger; the Steelers wanted to stay put because they knew they had a good shot at Florida center Maurkice Pouncey.
A bigger question now is this: What do the Steelers do with Roethlisberger once he is allowed to return to the team following the behavioral evaluation and counseling prompted by sexual-assault allegations in Georgia?
Specifically, when the Steelers arrive at training camp in Latrobe, which quarterback -- Roethlisberger, Dennis Dixon or Byron Leftwich -- runs with the first-team offense? And which quarterback starts the preseason games? Roethlisberger is allowed to practice with the team in the preseason and play in preseason games. Once the regular season begins, he is not allowed to practice with the team or workout work out at their facility until his suspension has been served ends.