NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell publicly spoke Thursday for the first time since he handed down a six-game suspension to Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy.
Goodell said talked with Roethlisberger on Wednesday to get the quarterback’s side of what happened in Milledgeville, Ga. Goodell said it was a good discussion and that he spent a lot of time telling the quarterback what he expects from everybody in the NFL and from one another.
Goodell sat down with NFL Network’s Rich Eisen to explain his motivation for giving Roethlisberger a six-game suspension.
“When we determined how we were going to move forward, part of it was making sure that we put consequences to the decisions he has been making and the poor judgment,” Goodell said. “But it was also to give him some incentive to make sure the he made changes in his life and that he get evaluated, get treatment, whatever the medical professionals may recommend for him.
“Hopefully he will learn something about himself and what he needs to do better in future. … Early intervention is a critical component in this. We are at a point where he can avoid making future mistakes and live a more productive life both on and off the field.”
Eisen pressed the commissioner on if he will seek recommendations from the medical community — perhaps even psychological evaluations — to determine when Roethlisberger can return.
“I don’t think so; it’s not really my business,” Goodell said. “There has got to be some medical privacy here. At the same time, I would like to hear from the medical experts. Is he ready to resume his career? What would be in his best interest as an individual to continue to make progress? So I will speak to them, but I am not interested in the personal aspect of this.”