NEW YORK (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger is getting time off for good behavior.
He’ll be back on the field for the Pittsburgh Steelers two games earlier than expected after convincing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell he is turning his life around.
The star quarterback, accompanied by team president Art Rooney, met with Goodell early Friday and was told he could return on Oct. 17 against Cleveland after missing four games.
He was suspended in April for six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, but Goodell said at the time he would review the player’s behavior over the next few months. Goodell was satisfied that Roethlisberger has followed the league’s guidelines and stayed out of trouble.
“You have told me and the Steelers that you are committed to making better decisions,” Goodell said in a letter to the two-time Super Bowl winner. “Your actions over the past several months have been consistent with that promise and you must continue to honor that commitment.”
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.
The league said the “reinstatement is contingent on Roethlisberger continuing to adhere to the program established by our advisors and avoiding any further violations of the personal conduct policy.”
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. However, Goodell said in April the policy allows him to impose such a penalty when the league’s integrity and reputation are at stake.