PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger says he needs to be smarter about making decisions in his life and is working closely with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to make the best of his "second chance" in football.
The Steelers quarterback talked publicly Thursday for the first time since drawing a six-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. He did not apologize for his actions in a Georgia nightclub, where a college student accused him of sexually assaulting her. But he said he has spent the last two months rethinking his life and the type of person he wants to be.
"I've put a lot of thought into my life, the decisions that I've made in the past," Roethlisberger said. "I've been sitting at home thinking about things, and I've been working closely with the commissioner on ways to make changes, corrections. I'm looking forward to the second chance and the second opportunity — not just in football, because I think everybody knows what you're going to get (from me) in football, but in life. I think that's kind of what's more important."
Roethlisberger offered no specifics about his dealings with Goodell, who ordered him to undergo an evaluation before clearing him to take part in the Steelers' final few spring practices, which end June 10.
"(I'm) evaluating what I need to do, and be smarter when it comes to certain things," Roethlisberger said.
Roethlisberger can take part in training camp and preseason games, but cannot practice during his suspension. Goodell has the option of trimming the suspension to four games.
Roethlisberger spoke briefly at the end of a Steelers voluntary practice, then took two questions before a team publicist cut off the news conference. Neither question dealt with the Georgia incident, which led to no criminal charges but shamed the two-time Super Bowl winner and caused a dramatic drop in his popularity with the Steelers' large fan base.
Coach Mike Tomlin says the team is working closely with the two-time Super Bowl winner to help him straighten out his life.
"I've spent a lot of time evaluating and looking at my life both on and off the field," Roethlisberger said. "I think this is a time for me to kind of close the chapter of the last couple of years of my life and move on to a new one, kind of a new start. I'm kind of really excited about it."
Roethlisberger, who was known for frequenting nightclubs with an entourage of friends, did not specify what changes he is making.
"Well, a lot of them are personal things, which is just something that I need to do," Roethlisberger said of his lifestyle changes. "But it's been neat being able to really reevaluate my life and spend time with my family and kind of reevaluate and refigure what's important in life. ... It's a new chapter and I'm looking forward to it and it starts with football and I'm glad to be back out here."