Steelers at the mercy of Roger Goodell
If commissioner doesn't reduce Roethlisberger's suspension, Pittsburgh could miss out
LATROBE, Pa. -- During the next month, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will get to see NFL commissioner Roger Goodell more than he should.
For starters, Goodell is scheduled to visit Steelers training camp Thursday, when he'll see Roethlisberger in person for the first time since April.
But the two are expected to meet again before the NFL season kicks off, at which time Goodell will decide whether to reduce Roethlisberger's suspension from six to four games.
All that hangs in that decision is whether the Steelers might be able to qualify for the playoffs.
Roethlisberger is assured of missing at least the first four games against the Falcons, Titans, Buccaneers and Ravens. Games 5 and 6 in question are at home against Cleveland and at Miami. Should Roethlisberger miss all six, Pittsburgh's chances of a division title or playoff run will be jeopardized.
Goodell already has made one significant decision on Roethlisberger. Another significant one awaits.
Other Steelers observations:
The roster spot of veteran Charlie Batch has to be in question at some point this season. If he starts the season on the active roster, his 2010 base salary would become fully guaranteed. But once Roethlisberger returns from his suspension, Pittsburgh will not be able to keep four quarterbacks on its roster. It creates an interesting dilemma, and a move is expected to be made at some point.
"Contract year," Ward said.
Linebacker LaMarr Woodley, cornerback Ike Taylor and kicker Jeff Reed are each entering the last year of their contracts. They each want to get paid. And players who want to get paid usually go out with a point to prove.
Smith is 34 years old and Pittsburgh's other starting defensive end, Brett Keisel, is 31. The Steelers now have their replacement on deck and getting ready.
Adam Schefter is an ESPN NFL Insider.