NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reduced Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's suspension to four games on Friday.
The two met in New York following the conclusion of the preseason. It was reported Thursday that Roethlisberger and his team were going to ask for the suspension to be cut in half to three games, but Goodell removed only two games off the original six-game suspension that had been announced in April.
The reinstatement is contingent on Roethlisberger continuing to adhere to the program established by the NFL's advisors and avoiding any further violations of the personal-conduct policy.
"You have told me and the Steelers that you are committed to making better decisions," Goodell said in a letter to Roethlisberger. "Your actions over the past several months have been consistent with that promise and you must continue to honor that commitment."
Roethlisberger will now be eligible to return when the Steelers have their bye during Week Five, giving him an extra week to prepare for his first game in Week Six against the Browns at home on Oct. 17. Roethlisberger will miss games against the Falcons, Titans, Buccaneers and Ravens. During the suspension, Roethlisberger cannot be at the team's practice facility, attend games, represent the club publicly in any way, have contact with any member of the coaching staff or other football operations personnel, or engage in any team football-related activities or discussions with teammates away from team facilities.
"Commissioner Goodell informed us today that Ben Roethlisberger's suspension has been reduced to four games," Steelers president Art Rooney II said in a statement released by the team. "Ben has done a good job this summer of growing as the person that he needs to be, both on and off the field. I am confident that Ben is committed to continuing in this positive direction. As a team, our focus is now on preparing for the regular season and getting off to a good start on opening weekend."
Roethlisberger's backup, QB Byron Leftwich, left Thursday night's preseason finale with an MCL injury in his left knee and is out indefinitely, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Dennis Dixon is set to start the season opener on Sept. 12 against the Falcons.
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