Report: Roethlisberger had evaluation

Updated: May 3, 2010, 9:29 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger spent last weekend undergoing a behavioral evaluation rather than at the team's minicamp, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Monday.

Roethlisberger

The paper, citing a team source, said that Roethlisberger, suspended for at least the first four games of the 2010 season by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for off-the-field conduct, will be evaluated for "days" rather than weeks. After that, the report said, Roethlisberger could either return to the team or undergo further evaluation.

Roethlisberger was ordered by Goodell to stay away from the Steelers' training facility until his evaluation was complete. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he didn't know when Roethlisberger would return.

"I have talked to him," Tomlin said, according to the Post-Gazette. "I will continue to talk to him, and I don't have a crystal ball in regards to when he's going to be back in the facility. A lot of that has to do with the things he needs to do and of course the judgment of the commissioner."

While Roethlisberger was in his evaluation, quarterbacks Byron Leftwich, Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch were all on the field for the Steelers.

Earlier Monday, SI.com reported that Roethlisberger's attorney, David Cornwell, sent a letter to Goodell prior to Roethlisberger's suspension. In it, according to SI.com (which posted parts of the letter), Cornell urged Goodell to consider a punishment other than a suspension for Roethlisberger, who was the subject of a police investigation into a possible sexual assault in Georgia last month, and who is the subject of a civil suit in Nevada for sexual assault.

"I cannot fathom how a suspension or any other form of traditional discipline will help Ben make a better choice the next time he decides to have consensual sex," Cornwell wrote. "The difficulty that Ben had in articulating a distinction between the risks associated with private and semi-public sex is the product of the undeniable similarity between the Reno and Georgia accusations, even though one event occurred in the privacy of Ben's hotel room and the other in a semi-public bathroom."

Cornwell added: "This is one of the more challenging conduct issues that you have confronted because the fundamental issue does not involve an arrest or criminal charges. This is an issue of lifestyle and the need to develop the tools and a method for addressing the unique challenges and opportunities that flow from the stature and celebrity enjoyed by the men who play football."

After the suspension, SI.com reported that Cornwell wrote to Goodell and thanks him and league attorneys for their "genuine concern for the well-being of the man in discharging your official functions. I appreciate your candor and accessibility throughout the process with Ben. In the end, we will be measured by whether we made a difference. You did your part and I am grateful.''