Steelers president avoids trade talk

Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II held a conference call with the media following the six-game suspension of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Many wanted to know about the possibility of a trade, which is gaining steam in NFL circles. But Rooney avoided the topic.

"We really can't answer any questions about trades, particularly this time of year," Rooney said. "We go into every draft with the idea we're going to do anything we can to make our team a better football team. So we just have to stick with that and not discuss trades in advance."

Here are some other highlights from Wednesday's media session:

  • Rooney said he agrees with and supports the punishment of six games that the NFL handed down. It can later be reduced to four games based on Roethlisberger's behavior."The discipline was appropriate in this case," Rooney said. "And we were prepared to impose discipline if the commissioner felt it was appropriate to go that way."

  • The NFL will take over the selection of the evaluation center where Roethlisberger will go through his behavioral program. An approximate location was not provided, but Rooney said it's a facility that the league has used before and feels comfortable with.

  • Rooney said the Steelers are confident players can step up and be competitive without Roethlisberger. The team has a trio of quarterbacks in Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon who will look to play in Roethlisberger's absence.

  • Currently, Rooney doesn't anticipate the NFLPA stepping in and attempting to appeal Roethlisberger's suspension.

"My understanding is the commissioner has discussed this with [NFLPA director DeMaurice] Smith," Rooney said. "I really would hesitate to speak for either one of them. But it's my understanding that the Players' Association does not plan to appeal it. But obviously they need to review it and discuss it with Ben, and again, I cannot speak for what they'll decide to do."