Steelers taking wait-and-see approach on Roethlisberger
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The Steelers will not make any hasty moves about their quarterback situation, at least until a sexual assault investigation in Georgia involving Ben Roethlisberger is completed.
Steelers President Art Rooney said he will allow the investigation to finish before the team decides what direction it might take on the matter. While Mr. Rooney declined to discuss Mr. Roethlisberger's legal situation, he did say the team has time on its side before it looks at making any personnel moves to bring in a quarterback.
"I mean look, that's one of the things, we do have a little bit of luxury of time," Mr. Rooney said during an interview Thursday afternoon at Steelers offices. "If we were at a different point in the year we may have to be thinking and doing something different. But at the moment, I think we're in a situation we're going to let this investigation play out and then go from there."
Police in Milledgeville, Ga., are investigating an accusation brought by a 20-year-old woman who said Mr. Roethlisberger sexually assaulted her in the bathroom of a club in the early morning hours of March 5.
The Post-Gazette does not name the victims of alleged sexual assaults.
Mr. Roethlisberger returned to his home in Pittsburgh shortly thereafter but has not participated with his teammates in the voluntary workouts at team headquarters that began Monday. He also has not yet granted an interview to Georgia investigators and has been a virtual recluse since the allegations were made March 5.
The Steelers, who normally have four quarterbacks on their roster by the end of the draft next month, have just one other under contract, Dennis Dixon, who has made just one meaningful appearance in two seasons with the Steelers, starting Nov. 29 in Baltimore when Mr. Roethlisberger did not play because of a concussion. Their longtime veteran backup, Charlie Batch, is an unrestricted free agent who is expected to re-sign with the Steelers.
Mr. Rooney offered little else about possible disciplinary action the team or the NFL might take or what level of disappointment he and the organization might have in Mr. Roethlisberger, who also is fighting a civil lawsuit that alleges sexual assault in Nevada in 2008.
"I can't speculate on it," Mr. Rooney said. "The situation is under investigation, and I really don't think it would be appropriate for us to discuss it while that investigation is going on."
First Published March 19, 2010 12:00 am