Sports gambling handicappers will have to adjust their notebooks for Pittsburgh’s first six games of the 2010 online sports gambling season due to a key suspension.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will not see action until the season’s seventh game due to allegations of sexual abuse last spring. This was the second year in a row that Roethlisberger faced such charges and the NFL suspended him as it is cracking down hard on personal conduct.
Roethlisberger has kept a low profile since this latest incident as it has tarnished his reputation. He is happy to be back in training camp and eager to put the controversy behind him as he focuses on the 2010 season.
“It’s good to be able to put a lot of things in the offseason behind you and move on and that’s what this is about,” said Roethlisberger. “It’s about doing that and getting ready to play football, because that’s my number one focus.”
Roethlisberger is not eligible to play until mid October as Byron Leftwich will get most of the preseason work with Dennis Dixon also getting plenty of reps. Roethlisberger will not see his normal workload in camp in order to prepare the team to play without him.
“We’re going to make sure that at the end of this thing, Ben has had a productive camp,” said Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin. “But our focus, of course, is who’s going to be playing quarterback for us the week of the opener.”
Pittsburgh will open with a football betting matchup against Atlanta on September 12.
Roethlisberger turned off a lot of Steeler fans when they got the details of his incident with a young woman in a Georgia bar. Many fans sent their kid’s Roethlisberger jerseys back to the team in protest.
The Steelers remain a favorite with the NFL preseason odds to make the playoffs but their inconsistent play last year was a big turnoff to gamblers, who saw a big drop-off from the 2008 Super Bowl title season.
For his part Roethlisberger is focused on the team and its sports gambling prospects.
“It’s all about football right now and I’m focused on that, and winning a championship,” said Roethlisberger. “That’s kind of where I’m at with it.”