PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger is on his own this time.
The Pittsburgh Steelers stood behind their quarterback when he wrecked his motorcycle while riding helmet-less in 2006, tsk-tsking his immaturity yet eagerly welcoming him to training camp a month later.
Coach Mike Tomlin and director of football operations Kevin Colbert lined up with Roethlisberger last year at a news conference when he angrily denied assaulting a Nevada hotel employee. The look in their eyes said: Hey, Ben's still our guy.
Nobody is standing with Roethlisberger now.
His teammates are publicly supporting him but, of course, that's what teammates do. But if Roethlisberger anticipated one of the most image-protective franchises in pro sports treating his six-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy as routine business, he got a surprise.