NFL benches Big Ben, Steelers may trade him

The bad behavior of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger resulted Wednesday in a six-game suspension by the NFL and reportedly has triggered what once would have been unthinkable: The Steelers are testing the market to trade him.

According to an ESPN report, Pittsburgh has been contacting teams selecting in the top 10 of this year’s draft, which begins today, to gauge interest in the two-time Super Bowl winner. By Wednesday afternoon, the network reported the Steelers had talked to St. Louis, San Francisco, Oakland, Jacksonville, Seattle and Cleveland.

Steelers president Art Rooney II was vague but didn’t deny his team was shopping the quarterback, who last month was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old college student in Georgia but will not face criminal charges.

What’s clear is the league and the Steelers have all but run out of patience with Roethlisberger, who last year faced similar accusations by a woman in Nevada. That case also did not bring criminal charges. Since then, reports have swirled that there’s a pattern of bad off-field behavior by the quarterback who once was among the NFL’s most popular players.

Roethlisberger was suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell without pay for six games – losing $2.8 million in salary – for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy, and he must undergo a “comprehensive behavioral evaluation by medical professionals,” the NFL said.

The suspension could be reduced to four games for good behavior after that behavioral evaluation has taken place, but Roethlisberger cannot attend any Steelers offseason activity until he completes the evaluation.

Extra points

Former Washington Husky and NFL running back Corey Dillon was arrested near Malibu, Calif., Wednesday for investigation of driving under the influence. Sheriff’s deputies said Dillon, 35, “displayed multiple symptoms of being under the influence,” admitted to having been drinking and was cited. … Six-time Pro Bowl linebacker Jason Taylor signed a two-year contract with the team he’s long professed to hate, the Jets. … The Jaguars traded defensive end Quentin Groves to the Raiders for an undisclosed draft pick. … The Vikings signed cornerback Lito Sheppard.