The point of this post is not to discuss the actual sexual assault allegations that have been made against the Steelers quarterback by a 20 year old woman in Milledgeville, Georgia.  I wasn’t there and therefore can’t add any facts to the story, and not enough facts have been made public to reach an informed opinion about what did or did not happen.  I fervently hope Ben didn’t do anything illegal or improper.  So at least for the time being I am going to approach this from the standpoint of football and the Pittsburgh Steelers, not because its more important but because its the realm I can hopefully sound more intelligent about.

Quite simply the Steelers have some decisions to make in the coming days and weeks as events unfold.  As the luck of timing would have it this incident took place right as the NFL was entering its peak free agent signing period, and during an uncapped year to boot.  The current plan is to enter 2010 with Roethlisberger as the obvious starter, Dennis Dixon as his backup, and #3 being a ?.  But now this.  If the investigation plays out to the point that Ben is indicted with a felony crime, and I think there is a reasonable chance that it does, the Steelers will need a Plan B.  The lack of a conviction or guilty plea won’t matter as we all know Sheriff Goodell will once again play judge, jury, and executioner in his righteous crusade to protect the almighty image of the League and assume Ben is guilty until proven innocent and indefinitely suspend him pending the outcome of the legal proceedings.  Of course, so far as that goes, Georgia authorities might not be keen in letting Ben leave the state even on bail in this eventuality.  So do the Steelers look to acquire an experienced quarterback now before the useful ones sign elsewhere so they have some semblance of a fallback plan?  And if they do, who?  Would Charlie Batch be up to another go around?  Chad Pennington would be a great guy to have around if he and Miami can’t agree on a new deal.  And would said veteran fallback plan start actual games, or do you let Dennis Dixon do that?  With another round of OTA’s and training camp and preseason he would probably be more up to the task and prepared then when he had to be severely managed in that game at Baltimore last season, and the Steelers almost pulled off the road win against a playoff level opponent as it was.

To say the very least, its a severe headache for Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin that they really don’t need.


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