Ben Roethlisberger is getting time off for good behavior.
He’ll be back on the field for the Pittsburgh Steelers two games earlier than expected after convincing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that he is turning his life around.
The quarterback, accompanied by team president Art Rooney, met with Goodell early yesterday and was told he could return Oct. 17 against Cleveland after sitting out four games.
Roethlisberger was suspended in April for six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, but Goodell said at the time 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.
“You have told me and the Steelers that you are committed to making better decisions,’’ Goodell said in a letter to the two-time Super Bowl winner. “Your actions over the past several months have been consistent with that promise and you must continue to honor that commitment.’’
Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a Georgia college student following a night of drinking in a Milledgeville, Ga., bar March 5. He was not charged by Georgia authorities.
The league said the “reinstatement is contingent on Roethlisberger continuing to adhere to the program established by our advisors and avoiding any further violations of the personal conduct policy.’’
While he is out, Roethlisberger can’t practice with the Steelers, nor can he attend games or represent the team in any way, or have contact with any member of the coaching staff or football operations personnel.
After the Steelers learned the nature of Leftwich’s injury, Dixon was taken out of Thursday’s preseason finale after throwing a single pass, for a touchdown — a strong indication he was being protected for the opener. Batch played the final 2 1/2 quarters, throwing only four passes.