Ben Roethlisberger returned to practice with the Pittsburgh Steelers Tuesday after being cleared by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. After two days of practice Roethlisberger has yet to speak to the media and for once it seems that he is showing the veteran wisdom you would hope to see from your franchise quarterback.
There has been much made in the national media of Roethlisberger declining to talk to the dozens of reporters outnumbering the players at the UPMC facility the last two days. Yet, his silence is speaking volumes in his favor as the troubled quarterback has returned to practice in noticeably better shape, and has let his actions do the talking for him.
Since coming back to the team, the only spectacle involving Roethlisberger has been the clinic he has been putting on while running the first team offense. Roethlisberger has been taking reps with the first team over the last two days during the scheduled absence of the presumed season opening quarterback, Byron Leftwich.
There have been times when Roethlisberger has snubbed the media out of sheer arrogance, but this does not seem to be one of them. Rather it seems that Roethlisberger is refusing to be a distraction, or be distracted for that matter.
It is unclear what, if anything he has said in the locker room over the last two days, but one thing is clear, he is putting his best foot forward to become the leader and teammate he is expected to be.
The true test of Roethlisberger’s character will come when the regular season begins and he has to serve his six game suspension (likely to be reduced to four games by commissioner Goodell assuming good behavior).
During his suspension he will not be permitted to have contact with the team on any level. Leaving him a month or better to spend at his own discretion without pay. Until then he has been permitted to take part in all off-season workouts, training camp, and pre-season games.
While Roethlisberger is far from being beloved in the city of Pittsburgh or anywhere else at this point, he is certainly leaving the starting line on the right track towards redemption.
It is unclear what changes Roethlisberger has made with regards to his personal life, but if his approach to bettering himself as a person mirrors what we have seen on the field this week he is well on his way. If he hopes to reach the finish line on his personal and professional journey he cannot afford any detours from his current path. He can certainly rest assured the Steelers and Roger Goodell are watching to make sure the way is straight and narrow.