Ben Roethlisberger Suspension Cut To 4 Games : The Two-Way Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's suspension was cut to four weeks from six. The QB was suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after a woman said he sexually assaulted her in a nightclub bathroom. No charges were filed.
NPR logo Ben Roethlisberger Suspension Cut To 4 Games

Ben Roethlisberger Suspension Cut To 4 Games

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had reason to smile; two weeks were knocked off of his six-week suspension for bad behavior.  Jared Wickerham/Getty Images hide caption

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Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

In news that will be particularly welcomed by Pittsburgh Steelers fans whereever they are, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will miss the first four games of the NFL season, two games less than many fans had feared.

The news came after the quarterback's Friday meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell who apparently was persuaded by Roethlisberger, and Steelers owner Art Rooney who accompanied the bad boy QB, that the Big Ben was a changed man.

Goodell had initially suspended the quarterback for six weeks following a woman's claim that the quarterback had sexually assaulted her in a Georgia nightclub's restroom. The prosecutor never filed charges but warned Roethlisberger, who's had other behavioral problems, to grow up.

While Roethlisberger will be returning two weeks earlier than expected, meaning he should play against Cleveland in the sixth week of the season (the fifth week of the season is a bye week for the Steelers) it still means there are big issues for the Steelers in terms of the quarterback position.

Byron Leftwich, who was supposed to start in Roethlisberger's place has an injured knee. The likely starter as the season begins appears to be third stringer Dennis Dixon whose running ability reminds many fans of the old Michael Vick when he was the Atlanta Falcons QB.

His play calling and passing abilities have caused some football fans to wonder if Dixon will be be able to keep the Steelers in the hunt until Leftwich or Roethlisberger returns, whoever is first.