Will the Oakland Raiders Benefit From Likely Big Ben Suspension?

Tim PetersonCorrespondent IApril 19, 2010

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 06:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers hands the ball off to Rashard Mendenhall #34 against the Oakland Raiders during the game on December 6, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Mark it down Raiders fans.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be suspended, but it’s highly unlikely he’ll miss the Raiders-Steelers upcoming regular season match—up.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback was in violation the league’s conduct policy on Monday’s “The Dan Patrick Show”. Goodell added that Roethlisberger will face a possible suspension from the league for the alleged sexual misconduct incident that took place with a college student in March.

Just how many games will the Roethlisberger miss and when will the league sanctions take affect? That’s the question everyone is asking.

Most likely, Goodell will retrace his steps from the Michael Vick case and hand down a four—game suspension that will start on opening day.

And even though no arrest was made and the Georgia district attorney declined to pursue criminal charges on Roethlisberger, Goodell said the Steelers starting quarterback committed a violation and will have to answer for it.

"The issue here is with respect to a pattern of behavior and bad judgments," Goodell said on Patrick’s national radio program. "You do not have to be convicted or even charged of a crime to be able to demonstrate that you've violated a personal conduct policy, and reflect poorly not only on themselves, but all of their teammates, every NFL player in the league, and everyone associated with the NFL.

"And that is what my concern is, and I have expressed that directly to Ben, obviously, and I will be making a decision as soon as I possibly can."

Goodell also stated on the radio program, that he will collect all the facts and review the case carefully.

However, the commissioner wouldn’t comment on any time—table for a decision. Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports speculated that it could be made Monday or Tuesday but ESPN’s Adam Schefter said he would be “very surprised” if the league took any action right away.

When pressed, Goodell wouldn’t reveal any clues of when he'll come to a verdict.

"I make the decision when I have all the information and I'm prepared to do so," he said.

With the announcement of the schedule on Tuesday and the NFL Draft coming up on Thursday, it’s a very busy week for Goodell and the league. Meaning, we may not learn of the quarterback’s fate until next week or even later.

There are certainly many interested fans and teams honing in on this season—altering announcement.

The Steelers not only have a match with Oakland scheduled, they also have “must-see” matchups with the Saints, Patriots, Jets, and Titans—not to mention their two customary meetings with divisional rival Baltimore.

I could be wrong, but I don’t see the Raiders catching a break from the league. I would plan on a cold-November game with Roethlisberger at the Steelers controls.

The most likely scenario is for Goodell to levy a suspension at the beginning of the season and let that be the end of it. A four—game hiatus seems to be consensus— especially with all the negative attention this case has received—perhaps the league will punish Pittsburgh further by sending it to Baltimore for an opening day matchup with Ray Lewis and the the Ravens?

However, the league won’t waste any more blockbuster matchups on Steeler backups Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch.

When the schedule is officially announced tomorrow, I fully expect to see the Raiders, Patriots, Saints and Jets playing against Roethlisberger under the bright lights of primetime.