Pittsburgh officials would like to take more serious action than the few statements they've issued on the legal predicaments of their Super Bowl heroes, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Santonio Holmes, but their hands are tied for now.
Until authorities in Georgia either charge Roethlisberger or announce no charges will be filed, there is little the Steelers or the NFL can do. If he is charged, Roethlisberger can be suspended by the NFL and/or the Steelers.
As for Holmes, police closed the case in Orlando, Fla., without charging him. A woman accused him of throwing a glass filled with alcohol in her face and has filed a civil lawsuit. Holmes denies the incident altogether.
Nevertheless, the combination of these two incidents coupled with Roethlisberger fighting a civil lawsuit in Nevada where a woman accused him of sexual assault has rocked the organization. Talk shows are filled with debate on a daily basis and most of it does not shed any positive light on the Steelers or coach Mike Tomlin.
It has reached a point where the team might seriously be thinking beyond suspensions. This is the fourth legal issue for Holmes since the Steelers drafted him in 2006. His ramblings on Twitter over the past week also have embarrassed the organization.
Neither player has been working out at the team's facility. Their teammates are paying for it, having to answer questions. Defensive end Aaron Smith, as straightforward as they come, agreed to address two dozen media members who turned out this past Monday for the start of veteran offseason workouts. Nearly every question pitched at Smith dealt with Holmes and with Roethlisberger and the fact the quarterback would not be working out with his teammates.
"Honestly, most of the stuff outside of here doesn't affect us," Smith said. "Guys come here, lift their weights, they run, they do their football, they go to meetings, and they go about their business and go home to their families and children."
Steelers' president Art Rooney issued another statement this week, this time on Holmes, that said he was "disappointed."
Smith said his teammates weren't spending much time on the matter and had no opinions on whether Roethlisberger would be suspended or not.
"I don't think we've even thought about that," Smith said. "If that ever arises, when that comes, then we'll deal with that."
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