Roethlisberger down to last strike

April, 26, 2010
4/26/10
4:00
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In a statement released Monday by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, he promised he would not put himself in another precarious situation again.

[+] EnlargeRoethlisberger
AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarBen Roethlisberger will not appeal his six-week NFL suspension.
The message Roethlisberger sent was clear: He recognizes that he's down to his last strike.

The Steelers and their fans have put up with a lot and also received a lot in return from Roethlisberger. On the field, his quarterbacking has led to two Super Bowl titles since the 2005 season. But away from the field, a trio of incidents have caused offseason distractions, which includes this year's six-game suspension.

In 2006, Roethlisberger went against the advice of others, including Pittsburgh legend Terry Bradshaw, by riding a motorcycle. His crash while not wearing a helmet led to numerous injuries and played a large part in Pittsburgh's 8-8 finish that resulted in the team missing the playoffs the season after Roethlisberger's first Super Bowl win.

A second Super Bowl title after the 2008 season was followed by a sexual assault allegation and civil lawsuit in Nevada last summer, during which the Steelers stood behind and supported Roethlisberger. But a second sexual assault allegation less than a year later caused the organization to seriously consider what to do next with its troubled quarterback.

Despite Roethlisberger's mistakes, it's hard for any team to do away with a $100 million franchise quarterback. If Roethlisberger played another position, was less talented and made significantly less money, chances are the Steelers wouldn't have had the same level of tolerance.

But from Bradshaw to Roethlisberger, it took the Steelers decades to find another elite quarterback. Who knows when another "Blonde Bomber" or "Big Ben" will come through Pittsburgh?

Roethlisberger says he will not appeal his suspension, which is a smart idea. The last thing the Steelers and Roethlisberger need right now is for his latest transgression to stay in the news for several more weeks or months while both parties try to move forward.

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James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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