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Steelers trying to help Roethlisberger better himself, Tomlin says

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers are working closely with troubled quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to make sure he turns his life around, although coach Mike Tomlin didn't offer any specifics about what the team is doing.

Tough task for Tomlin

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin must prepare two starting QBs -- Ben Roethlisberger and whoever will replace him while he serves a four- or six-game suspension to start the season. **More ...**

Tomlin said Wednesday he talks regularly with Roethlisberger, who recently underwent a behavioral evaluation as part of the six-game suspension that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down April 21 for violating the league's personal-conduct policy.

"He has a commitment to being what we desire for him to be and what his team needs him to be and that's my focus," Tomlin said. "I've seen Ben quite a bit and communicated with him quite a bit throughout all of this."

Roethlisberger was suspended after a 20-year-old Georgia college student accused him of sexual assault in March. No charges were filed.

Roethlisberger also is being sued by a woman who claims he sexually assaulted her at a Lake Tahoe hotel in 2008. Roethlisberger isn't facing charges in that case, either.

Roethlisberger's suspension could be reduced to four games at Goodell's discretion, but the Steelers say their intervention isn't designed to ensure that the quarterback returns to the field sooner. He could play Oct. 17 against the Cleveland Browns if his penalty is cut to four games, but not until a Oct. 31 meeting with the New Orleans Saints if the full suspension stands.

"We're doing a lot of things with Ben in terms of dealing with this situation, (and) not for the sole purpose of meeting the criteria so he can participate," Tomlin said. "More than anything, it's about making proper corrections and moving forward with football and with his life. That's the spirit with which we're doing the things that we're doing."

Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, was barred from practicing with the Steelers while he underwent the evaluation and Goodell reviewed it. Roethlisberger returned to practice Tuesday and took most of the snaps with the starters that day and Wednesday.

Dozens of reporters attended both workouts, an unusual turnout for practices that are designed mostly to teach.

"I don't mind the circus atmosphere because I can't control it," Tomlin said. "... Ultimately we'll be measured by our ability to win football games. This is a distraction if we lose; if we don't, it's not. And I'm committed to making sure it's not, and I'm sure everyone else is."

Roethlisberger hasn't answered questions from reporters since the March incident, but he will soon, Tomlin said. The Steelers practice again Thursday and June 8-10, then will take seven weeks off before training camp opens July 30.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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