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[UPDATE III: If you're wondering how the commissioner justifies the suspension, in light of the fact that Ben Roethlisberger(notes) was never charged with anything, here's how Roger Goodell explained his decision:

"I recognize that the allegations in Georgia were disputed and that they did not result in criminal charges being filed against you,” he said in his letter to the two-time Super Bowl winner, a six-year veteran.

"My decision today is not based on a finding that you violated Georgia law, or on a conclusion that differs from that of the local prosecutor. That said, you are held to a higher standard as an NFL player, and there is nothing about your conduct in Milledgeville that can remotely be described as admirable, responsible, or consistent with either the values of the league or the expectations of our fans."

Roethlisberger has yet to comment publicly.


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[UPDATE II: The NFL has officially confirmed that Roethlisberger's suspension will be for six games. In the meantime, Roethlisberger will undergo a league-mandated "professional behavior evaluation" and "must adhere to any counseling or treatment that is recommended by the professional evaluators."

If commissioner Roger Goodell is satisfied with the progress Ben makes in the time between now and Week 4, he could reduce the suspension to four games. If he's displeased with Roethlisberger's progress or behavior, he could increase the length of the suspension.]


[UPDATE: CNBC's Darren Rovell says that a six-game suspension would cost Roethlisberger $2,841,174.]


Several sources are reporting today that Ben Roethlisberger will be looking at a four-to-six game suspension from the NFL. Adam Schefter was first with the report:

Filed to ESPN: @mortreport and I are reporting that Ben Roethlisberger will be suspended four to six games, with conditions attached.

So that's the early word. Of course, we'll keep you updated as the story develops and/or becomes official. I'm especially curious about the "conditions attached."

HTML clipboardRoethlisberger, of course, has twice been accused of sexual assault, though charges were never filed in either case. A punishment from the league has been expected, with no particular timetable attached to it, but it's looking like today will be the day.

HTML clipboardAt the same time, rumors of the Steelers trying to trade Ben Roethlisberger are picking up steam. Schefter also reports on Twitter that the Steelers are actively trying to trade Ben Roethlisberger for a top 10 pick in tomorrow night's draft.

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[Photos: Slideshow of Roethlisberger's return to practice.]

A trade would be an incredibly bold move, and something that would've been absolutely unthinkable even a month ago. Roethlisberger's proven himself to be a franchise quarterback, and franchise quarterbacks, in their prime years, simply are not traded.

That the Steelers are considering it at all is a statement about how seriously they take their reputation as a franchise, and perhaps, about their confidence (or lack of confidence) in Roethlisberger to stay out of trouble going forward.

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