14, Including Jets’ Holmes, Start Season Suspended
New York Jets
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NEW YORK (AP) Ben Roethlisberger is one of 14 players who begin the NFL season on suspension.
According to league figures, Roethlisberger is one of four players suspended for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. He will miss the first four games after Commissioner Roger Goodell reduced the suspension by two games last week.
Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a Georgia college student following a night of drinking in a Milledgeville, Ga., bar on March 5. He was not charged by Georgia authorities, but Goodell acted because the league’s integrity and reputation were at stake, he said.
Roethlisberger is the first player suspended by Goodell under the NFL’s personal conduct policy who was not arrested, charged with or convicted of a crime.
“I have learned a lot over the past several months about myself as a person,” Roethlisberger said in a statement after the ban was reduced. “I am committed to continuing on this path of being the type of person my family raised me to be, and exceeding what is expected of me as the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
The others suspended for personal conduct are Ravens cornerback Cary Williams (two games), Patriots offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka and Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib, one game apiece.
Ojinnaka was traded from Atlanta to New England late last month. He was arrested in May 2009 and charged with battery after his wife confronted him over his contact with a female friend on Facebook. He was accused of tossing his wife down stairs and throwing her out of the house.
Talib also was fined one additional game check stemming from his punching a cab driver in August 2009. He initially was charged with resisting arrest without violence and simple battery. He later reached agreement on the battery charge.
Williams is suspended for a domestic dispute.
Seven players are banned for substance abuse, and three are out due to violating the policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Atlanta is the only team with two players suspended, linebacker Robert James four games for PEDs, and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux, one game for substance abuse.
Also gone for substance abuse are Jets receiver Santonio Holmes (four games), Bills tight end Shawn Nelson (four games), Broncos running back LenDale White (four games), Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson (three games), Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill (one game), and Packers defensive tackle Johnny Jolly, who has an indefinite suspension that certainly will carry through the 2010 season.
Jolly made a deal with prosecutors last month to avoid trial on a felony drug charge and will have the case against him dismissed if he stays out of trouble for the next year.
Suspended for performance-enhancing drug use is Texans linebacker Brian Cushing, last season’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, who will be out for four games. Also sidelined four games are Titans linebacker Gerald McRath and James.
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