Steelers Notebook: Batch not surprised by Goodell's decisions
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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's decisions regarding discipline and player conduct took another turn over the weekend when he decided not to suspend several players who ran afoul of the law during the lockout.
Goodell did not suspend Tampa Bay defensive back Aquib Talib, Tennessee receiver Kenny Britt or New England defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth after all three were charged with crimes.
Talib stands accused of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after police say he shot at his sister's boyfriend. Britt has been arrested seven times, including twice during the lockout. Haynesworth plead no contest to misdemeanor assault after a cocktail waitress accused him of groping her at a party.
These decisions come one year after Goodell suspended Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for four games even though Roethlisberger was never arrested or charged with a crime.
Charlie Batch, a reserve quarterback who is on the NFL player's association executive committee, was not surprised that Goodell did not take any action against the players.
"How can he?" Batch said. "They made the rules. They locked us out. I don't think we had to send a message. We made one statement. That statement was you made the rule. You locked us out. How can you enforce your personal conduct policy? There's nothing else that needs to be said off that."
It appears the NFLPA earned a small victory by keeping the players eligible, but plenty of issues remain between Goodell and the NFLPA. Batch spoke Monday about Goodell's ever-expanding powers and the confusing criteria he uses to hand down discipline.
"Last year I said the same thing," Batch said, referencing the Roethlisberger suspension. "How can you suspend someone when he's not found guilty? He chose to find a way to do that. I think he has too much leverage on his personal conduct policy because there are no rules. Now he took it to another level. He said I'm going to suspend Terrelle Pryor for five games, and he wasn't even in the NFL last year. How can he do that? It's not right. It's not right at all."
Other than Byron Leftwich, the Steelers did not have any other serious injuries against the Falcons, but several players sat out Monday's practice with minor ones.
Pro-Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey was one of five starters who did not practice. Pouncey aggravated the ankle injury that kept him out of Super Bowl XLVI. The others who did not practice were Hines Ward (quadriceps), Troy Polamalu (quadriceps), Casey Hampton (elbow) and James Farrior.
Tomlin said a determination on their playing status for Thursday night's preseason finale against Carolina will not be determined until later in the week.
Pouncey said he is in pain, but vowed to play in the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against Baltimore.
"It's an old injury, calcium and stuff still breaking up," Pouncey said. "Once that gets out of the way, I'll feel pretty good. As of right now, I'm doing treatment, rehabbing my ankle. Hopefully it gets better soon."
Cornerback Keenan Lewis, who injured a knee against the Falcons, said the doctors have told him he has tendinitis.
"It's feeling better," Lewis said. "It's just a little swelling with the tendon. I've been having that since college. I just reaggravated it a little bit. I'll be OK."
Two other players who have yet to play in the preseason -- receiver Emmanuel Sanders and cornerback Bryant McFadden -- are hoping to play against Carolina.
"If they don't take any steps back we'll push them toward competition Thursday night," Tomlin said.
First Published August 30, 2011 12:00 am