Ben Roethlisberger could learn today whether commissioner Roger Goodell will uphold the Steelers quarterback's six-game suspension for actions that led to him being accused of sexual assault in March, or whether the punishment will be reduced because Roethlisberger has satisfied Goodell's criteria for a more lenient punishment.
The two will discuss Roethlisberger's behavior since the March 5 incident, in which he was accused of sexually assaulting a college student in Georgia. Roethlisberger was not charged.
The NFL would not comment on the meeting. There is a sense that Goodell has been satisfied with Roethlisberger's progress in coming to terms with his situation and in showing maturity. It is expected that Goodell will reduce the suspension from six games to four.
When Goodell announced the suspension in April, he said Roethlisberger could have the punishment reduced to four games if he followed the league's behavioral guidelines. Roethlisberger has been lauded by teammates as more approachable and has made several community service appearances.
"For many years, people didn't know what was really going on with Ben," receiver Hines Ward said. "He's opening up to guys; he's being more personal."
Roethlisberger played two series in the Steelers' final preseason game Thursday, a 19-3 victory over the visiting Panthers, completing 4 of 6 passes for 39 yards. Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich, expected to start during Roethlisberger's suspension, injured his left knee. He limped off and did not return.
giants 20, patriots 17: Eli Manning and Tom Brady were solid in their final preseason tuneups and Rhett Bomar may have clinched the job as host New York's backup quarterback, throwing a 60-yard TD pass to Duke Calhoun with 1:49 left. The score came after Darnell Jenkins put New England up 17-12, turning a short pass from Brian Hoyer into a 66-yard score. Manning (7-of-9, 91 yards) and Brady (4-of-8, 51 yards) each threw a touchdown pass on his first series.
vikings 31, broncos 24: Denver rookie Tim Tebow outplayed Minnesota's Tarvaris Jackson in the backup quarterback comparison, but the host Vikings forced four first-half turnovers.
Tebow fumbled his first snap, and Erin Henderson returned it 35 yards for a Vikings touchdown. The former Gator then threw a wobbler over the middle that Tyrell Johnson easily intercepted and returned 41 yards to set up a field goal.
Tebow found a rhythm in the second quarter, and despite the turnovers and some carelessness with the ball as he scrambled in the backfield, he finished 12-for-16 for 167 yards and one touchdown.
Tebow also had 21 yards rushing on four attempts, giving the Broncos plenty to consider in their decision about whether to use him or Brady Quinn as the primary backup to Kyle Orton.
bengals 30, colts 28: Cedric Peerman had a 93-yard touchdown run for visiting Cincinnati. Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning didn't play. Backup Tom Brandstater completed 10-of-18 for 177 yards and three touchdowns, all to rookie Brandon James, a former Gator.
JETS 21, EAGLES 17: Michael Vick's first start in four years was a cameo. The quarterback led host Philadelphia to a field goal in two series, and Kurt Coleman scored on two fumble returns, but New York won as Mark Brunell threw a 51-yard TD pass to Santonio Holmes in the fourth quarter. Vick had a so-so preseason: 189 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions.
LIONS 28, BILLS 23: Third-stringer Drew Stanton threw a pair of second-half touchdown passes after Matthew Stafford had an interception returned for a touchdown for host Detroit. Buffalo running back Marshawn Lynch had 2 yards rushing on five carries after missing two games with an ankle injury.
cowboys 27, Dolphins 25: David Buehler capped a big game with a 31-yard field goal as time expired for the host Cowboys. Buehler, who handled only kickoffs as a rookie last season, also made field goals of 51, 45 and 40 yards, all with room to spare.