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Roethlisberger expected at first offseason practice

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By Scott Brown
Monday, April 19, 2010

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who faces an uncertain future following two allegations of sexual assault since July, is expected to take part in the Steelers' first offseason practice today.

Roethlisberger worked out last week at the team's practice facility, but the Steelers only allowed him to return after they were convinced he is sincere about changing his ways.

Roethlisberger will not face charges after a 20-year-old college student accused him of sexually assaulting her March 5 in Milledgeville, Ga.

Steelers president Art Rooney II said last week the team will work with the NFL in disciplining Roethlisberger. He is facing a suspension and likely will miss the start of the 2010 season.

Rooney said the punishment won't be handed down until after the NFL draft, which runs Thursday through Saturday. He also said the organization had not talked to any team about trading Roethlisberger even though speculation continues to swirl about the two-time Super Bowl winner's long-term future with the Steelers.

"It's a situation where we are giving Ben an opportunity to regain the trust and respect that he wants to have and to regain the opportunity to be a successful quarterback for us," Rooney said.

One of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, Roethlisberger, 28, finds himself as a crossroads. A night of bar-hopping in Milledgeville resulted in damaging allegations but no charges after district attorney Fred Bright said he did not have enough evidence to prosecute Roethlisberger.

The Steelers have strongly condemned Roethlisberger and last week he met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in New York.

Roethlisberger has kept a low profile since the allegations. Last Monday, he apologized to the Steelers and his family while reading a statement at team headquarters.

"I absolutely want to be the leader this team deserves, valued in the community and a role model to kids," Roethlisberger said. "I have much work to do to earn this trust and I'm committed to improving and showing everyone my true values."

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