Goodell to review Roethlisberger's status, make ruling within a week

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that he expects to decide within a week when Ben Roethlisberger can rejoin the Pittsburgh Steelers for offseason workouts.

It's Tomlin's camp now

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin agreed to replace Ben Roethlisberger as the host of a Pittsburgh youth football camp next month while the quarterback deals with his off-the-field issues. More ...

Goodell said he would soon review the behavioral evaluation that he ordered as part of his six-game suspension of the quarterback under the league's personal-conduct policy. Goodell said he planned to sit down with his staff and "determine the next step" concerning Roethlisberger, who hasn't been allowed to participate in team activities pending the evaluation.

Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl champion, was suspended by Goodell following a March incident in which a 20-year-old female college student accused the quarterback of sexual assault in Milledgeville, Ga. The case will not be prosecuted.

NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reported earlier this month that a source said the team expected Roethlisberger to be gone through May. Roethlisberger wasn't with the team when it started a three-day run of organized team activities Tuesday.

The Steelers' final OTA sessions are scheduled for June 1-3 and June 8-10, and the team had hoped Roethlisberger could participate in them, according to La Canfora.

With Roethlisberger unable to practice, Byron Leftwich is handling nearly all of the first-team snaps -- a strong indication that he will be the Steelers' fill-in starter. Coach Mike Tomlin has said he wants to enter training camp with what he calls a "pecking order" defined at quarterback, and so far, that's Leftwich, followed by third-year pro Dennis Dixon and longtime backup Charlie Batch.

Dixon isn't complaining about his status.

"I have no idea," Dixon said Tuesday when asked if he can win the temporary starting job. "I've just got to continue to do what I do best and hopefully that's enough. Just go out there and get the trust of my teammates day in and day out."

Dixon added that he's seeing enough time with the top receivers to be comfortable.

"I feel like I'm getting better each and every day, which is a good thing for me," said Dixon, who has started only one NFL game. "Focus on the little things, and big things will follow as far as the playbook goes. As of right now, I feel real good."

Leftwich will need considerable work with the regulars during training camp this summer because he'll likely be starting until October. However, Roethlisberger also needs time with the regulars because, once the season starts, he won't practice with them again until his suspension ends.

"But I can't be thinking about September in May," Leftwich said. "I've got to take this month to month, day by day, and make sure I'm continually getting better. I'm quite sure they'll do the right thing."

The Steelers apparently signaled their plans by trading a seventh-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Leftwich within hours of Roethlisberger being suspended on April 21.

Leftwich, formerly with the Bucs, Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons, was Roethlisberger's backup when the Steelers won the Super Bowl during the 2008 season. He signed with the Bucs last year for the chance to start, but he wound up playing in just three games.

While Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians tweaked the playbook some while Leftwich was gone, it apparently hasn't taken much time for him to catch up this past month.

"When you like something, you never forget it, and I never forgot his offense," Leftwich said. "It changed some, but as a quarterback, you're so used to things changing here and there, you can pick up on it. Especially when he makes it as easy as he makes it. There's always a rhyme or reason to what he does. I know the way he thinks."

The Steelers also understand how Leftwich thinks, one reason why they hurried to reacquire him once they knew for certain that Roethlisberger would miss the start of the season. They liked how Leftwich ran the offense in practice and during the minimal playing time he had in 2008, and how he easily settled into their locker room.

"I've got confidence in myself, and I believe they have confidence in me," Leftwich said. "I'm not new around these guys."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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