It has already been reported all over the news and the world wide web:
Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for a total of six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. If he completes all of the conditions handed down by the NFL, the suspension could be reduced to four games.
This site is not dedicated to regurgitating wire stories, but is instead devoted to sparking debate among fans – specifically Cleveland Browns’ fans.
So with that in mind, what impact does this have on your Cleveland Browns?
For starters, the Cleveland Browns are scheduled to meet the Steelers in week five. Assuming that Roethlisberger has to serve the full suspension, the Browns may just be in position to steal a win.
The Steelers recently re-acquired former back-up Byron Leftwich to start in Big Ben’s absence, which should not inspire a great deal of confidence in the Steeler faithful.
If Roethlisberger gets off for “good behavior,” week five would be his first game back. A rusty Roethlisberger may be better than Leftwich, but it certainly will be a Browns’ advantage come October 17th – especially if Ben remembers the beat down he took from the Browns’ defense at the end of last season.
Whether Roethlisberger was suspended or not, the Steelers had a big hill to climb following a disappointing 2009. The Steelers were in melt-down mode at the end of the season and dropped to third in the division.
At one point, the Steelers dropped five straight games, including losses to all three divisional rivals.
The offseason has not been kind to the Rooney family. They unceremoniously traded away their best wide receiver (Santonio Holmes) because of off-the-field issues…and now this.
In addition, they already had lingering concerns across both lines, lost their big-play backup running back (Willie Parker) to free agency, and their best remaining receiver (Hines Ward) is making plans at The Golden Acres Retirement Home.
The Rooneys are a prideful bunch and they are not taking this Roethlisberger fiasco lying down. There are already rumors that the team has begun shopping Ben around.
I would be completely shocked if the Steelers traded him to an inter-divisional rival, but rumors were flying that they even made contact with the Browns.
If that happens…warning to all fathers: keep your daughters away from the Rascal House on Euclid Avenue!
So here are the questions of the day:
1. Does Ben Roethlisberger play a down as a Steeler in 2010?
2. Would the Cleveland fan base welcome Big Ben to Cleveland with open arms?
3. Will the Steelers win 8 or more games in 2010 if Roethlisberger is jettisoned?
Let the debate begin.