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Statement from Art Rooney II

Posted Apr 15, 2010

Statement by Steelers President Art Rooney, II

Thank you for being here.

Let me start with an update of Ben Roethlisberger’s situation.

As you know, on Tuesday Ben met with Commissioner Goodell in New York. Since then I have talked with the Commissioner about his review of this matter. As far as the timing of any disciplinary action, the Commissioner has told me he would like to take at least a couple weeks to review this matter. So, I don’t expect we will be announcing any final decisions until the week after the draft, at the earliest.

Next, I want to say that I have informed the Commissioner that the Pittsburgh Steelers are prepared to take disciplinary action at this point. However, I want to make clear that any discipline will be agreed to and coordinated between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Commissioner. In other words, there will not be two separate decisions on discipline.

Let me say at this point that we believe that each of our players not only has a responsibility to live up to the highest standards on the field, but also to equally high standards off the field. Receiving the support of the Pittsburgh Steelers fans all over the world is something that must be earned.

I have made it clear to Ben that his conduct in this incident did not live up to our standards. We have made it very clear to Ben that there will be consequences for his actions, and Ben has indicated to us that he is willing to accept those consequences.

As you maybe aware, Ben has rejoined the team in participating in our offseason conditioning program. We allowed Ben to do this after we were convinced that he was sincerely contrite for his past behavior, as well having Ben’s assurance that he is firmly committed to working hard everyday to regain the trust and respect of this organization and Steelers fans.

After imposing an appropriate level of discipline and outlining the steps we feel will be necessary to be successful as a player and a person, we intend to allow Ben the opportunity to prove to us he is the teammate and citizen we all believe he is capable of being. And we hope the entire Steelers community will allow Ben the opportunity to prove to them that he deserves their trust and their respect.

I would also like to address the Santonio Holmes trade to the New York Jets. Trading players or releasing players is never an easy decision. We have to take into account a number of factors. First and foremost, we must evaluate if that player is truly committed to trying to live up to the standards we expect. And, on occasion, when a player makes a mistake, we have to evaluate whether the player is committed to taking the required steps to improve in the future.

As you can imagine, to keep our commitment to our fans to consistently put the best possible team on the field, we must also evaluate a player’s likely contribution both in short term and the long term. Clearly Santonio is a very talented football player. But his multiple violations of League policies, and the additional off-the-field problems lead us to conclude that it would be in the best interest of our organization to part ways. I wish Santonio all the best and I hope he is able to do what is necessary to be successful both on and off the field.

Are there any questions?

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