PITTSBURGH — A chastened Ben Roethlisberger accepted his six-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy Monday and promised to "comply with what is asked of me — and more."
In his first comments since the NFL handed down the penalty last week, the Steelers quarterback apologized to teammates and fans for his behavior last month in a Georgia bar, where a 20-year-old college student accused him of sexual assault.
"The commissioner's decision to suspend me speaks clearly that more is expected of me," Roethlisberger said in the statement. "I am accountable for the consequences of my actions. Though I have committed no crime, I regret that I have fallen short of the values instilled in me by my family."
Roethlisberger was cleared of charges, but commissioner Roger Goodell cracked down on one of his biggest stars because "you are held to a higher standard as an NFL player, and there is nothing about your conduct in Milledgeville (Ga.) that can remotely be described as admirable, responsible, or consistent with either the values of the league of the expectations of our fans."
The two-time Super Bowl winner said it will be "devastating" to miss games.
"I appreciate the opportunities that I have been given in my life and will make the necessary improvements," he said.
Roethlisberger is the first player suspended under the conduct policy who hasn't been arrested or charged with a crime. Goodell said the league's policy gave him the right to impose discipline regardless of whether Roethlisberger broke the law.
FINS RB WILLIAMS AGAIN UNSURE: At a Miami Beach premiere of a tell-all documentary on himself, Dolphins running back Ricky Williams said he can envision life after football becoming closer to reality, and was uncertain if he'll play beyond this season.
"I'm not sure," said Williams, who turns 33 next month. "… Football is a game, especially the way I play, where if you can't be 100 percent, you can't do it."
PATRIOTS: The team released former Pro Bowl linebacker Adalius Thomas, who joined as a high-profile free agent in 2007, but fell into disfavor with coach Bill Belichick last season. Thomas, 32, signed a five-year, $35 million deal after seven seasons with the Ravens, where he voted to the Pro Bowl in 2003 and '06.
JAGUARS: Two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle John Henderson was released, opening up a starting spot for first-round pick Tyson Alualu. Others let go were defensive tackle Montavious Stanley and linebackers Brian Iwuw and Tank Daniels.
TITANS: LeGarrette Blount, the Oregon running back suspended for punching a player last season, agreed to terms as a free agent.
PACKERS: Outside linebacker Jeremy Thompson, 24, intends to retire after sustaining a neck injury last season. The team released him.
JURISPRUDENCE: Former quarterback Mike Tomczak was arrested and charged with two counts of simple assault, police told Pittsburgh TV station WPXI. Brian Brown, the police chief of Bell Acres, Pa., told the station, "Mike lunged at his wife, grabbed her and stepped on her foot." … Former Houston Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini was charged with driving while intoxicated after a traffic accident in Bryan, Texas. Officer Jason James said Pastorini, 60, was involved in a three-vehicle collision late Sunday.