Why Ben Roethlisberger Should Attend the Pittsburgh Steelers Voluntary Workouts

Chris Gazze@ChrisG_PITCorrespondent IMarch 29, 2010

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 20:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers on December 20, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers opened their voluntary offseason conditioning program today without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, team officials decided that it was best if Roethlisberger did not attend the offseason program with the goal of preventing a distraction to the team.

Despite news of this, the media was in full force at Steelers headquarters ready to ask questions about Roethlisberger, whether he was there or not.

At some point, Roethlisberger will have to show up and face questions. The question now becomes when?

In my opinion, the sooner he returns to practice, the better.

This week the Steelers are only working out and watching film. As the team progresses through the offseason, the preparation for the season becomes more intense.

The worst case scenario would be if Roethlisberger returned to the team at the start of training camp.

At that point, Pittsburgh would be preparing their team for the upcoming season with on—field practices and game planning.

Roethlisberger, as well as his teammates and coaches, would be subjected to a media storm of questions regarding the sexual assault incident.

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The distraction could have a carry —over effect into the regular season.

Following their Super Bowl XL win, there was much speculation that head coach Bill Cowher would retire. This question followed the team throughout the season and Pittsburgh missed the playoffs.

Roethlisberger had questions about his first sexual assault case lingering over him and the team this past season and the Steelers again missed the playoffs.

By waiting until training camp, the questions will last into the regular season and have an overall negative impact on the team.

If Roethlisberger had attended team workouts today, he would have had to answer questions, not his teammates.

Instead, the players who do not find themselves in trouble have to answer questions for Roethlisberger, a player who has been involved in three questionable decisions in the past four years.

Distractions aside, Roethlisberger's attendance today would have shown a commitment to football. 

Over the years there have been questions around Pittsburgh relating to Roethlisberger’s offseason preparation. This past season, he came to training camp looking relatively out of shape. Beginning to get into football shape with his teammates would send a positive message.

Speaking of teammates, Roethlisberger may need to get back into good graces with them.

This is the second straight season that he has legal issues relating to a sexual assault case.  Attending workouts shows a dedication to the game and also means that he is not out getting into trouble.

Apologies to teammates should not become an annual event.

Most importantly, the Steelers are coming off of a 9—7 season in which they missed the playoffs. This season included a five—game losing streak to some of the worst teams in the league.

As a team leader, Roethlisberger should be present to demonstrate to teammates that he is dedicated to get the team back to the playoffs.

So for the best for the team, get Roethlisberger back to football as soon as possible.

The faster the questions get out of the way, the faster Roethlisberger and the rest of the team can focus on this upcoming season.