12P ET: Roethlisberger's Ban Cut From 6 Games To 4 ; Leftwich Likely To Miss Opener; Strasburg Surgery Today


ROETHLISBERGER'S SUSPENSION REDUCED TO 4 GAMES:
Ben Roethlisberger's suspension has been reduced from six games to four by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The Pittsburgh Steelers' star quarterback met with Goodell early Friday and was told he could return on Oct. 17 against Cleveland. When Roethlisberger was suspended in April for violating the league's personal conduct policy, Goodell said he would review the player's behavior over the next few months. Goodell was satisfied that Roethlisberger has followed the league's guidelines and stayed out of trouble. Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a Georgia college student following a night of drinking in a Milledgeville, Ga., bar on March 5. He was not charged by Georgia authorities.
LEFTWICH HAS SECOND-DEGREE MCL SPRAIN:
While the Steelers celebrate Big Ben's 2-game reduced suspension, the QB they had planned on replacing Big Ben was dealt a huge blow. According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich suffered a second-degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in Thursday night's preseason game, sources said this morning. An MRI confirmed the injury, which means Leftwich avoided a complete tear of the MCL but nevertheless it remains a debilitating injury that is likely to prevent him from starting the regular season opener. Leftwich told the Steelers initially that he wanted to avoid surgery and believed he could still start against the Atlanta Falcons a week from Sunday but a team source termed that possibility as "not likely." Dennis Dixon is now expected to start.

STRASBURG SCHEDULED TO HAVE SURGERY:
Less than 2 weeks after he hurt his arm, Nationals flamethrower Stephen Strawsburg is scheduled to have Tommy John Surgery on his elbow in Los Angeles today. If rehab goes as planned, he will start throwing in 4 months.