As you might have heard a few thousand times from a multitude of sports new outlets, Ben Roethlisberger returned to practice this week after the completion of his four-game suspension. Reports from practice say he's looked sharp, which is good, I guess - better than the alternative. There's also been a lot of hype about how Ben had been taking more reps than he usually would during his suspension. I guess we'll find out how much of that is true next weekend and how much is simply outward effort to burnish the perception created during the summer that he hasn't been the hardest worker in the world at early parts of his pro career.
Yesterday, ESPN posted this interview Ben did with mentor and fellow dimwit Merril Hoge in which Roethlisberger admitted he's at times considered getting out of football in the past few years. Hey, turns out, he almost succeeded in doing just that! Trying to distance his bad behavior as the result of adopting Big Ben persona is more than a little hokey, but whatever he has to do to not put himself in stupid situations is fine with me. Plus, it looks like he's finally getting around to flatly denying the allegations using strong language, which is nice, but it probably would have been advisable to try that a few months ago, Benny.
Should be interesting what the league does to address the Favre dickcam shots to Jenn Sterger, if anything. So far, there hasn't been any acknowledgment in official channels outside of one brushed-off question at the press conference welcoming Randy Moss back to Minnesota. I'm of the view that the NFL and all major sports outlets are likely going to ignore the issue as long as they can, though it will strike a weird note if it is raised publicly if Roger Goodell doesn't take action in some way. There's not a clear parallel between what Ben was accused of and what Favre is. If true, Favre is guilty of sexual harassment, not rape, and it's not like Sterger pursued the matter with the league or the Jets organization. Not saying that because she didn't seek punishment that it excuses the matter, only that it makes punishment more difficult to identify in codified league policy. Nevertheless, Goodell has established that he is willing to legislate on morals. Even by that shifting standard, he would have to do something with Favre. Sterger's allegation may not be proven as yet, even if the voice on the recordings sounds like Favre, but the accusation is out yet. That was evidence enough for Roger just a few months ago.
All right - hopefully this is the last time in a while I have to harp on some of this stuff, though something tells me it won't be. Looking forward to the bye week games. The Ravens have a falsely inflated pass defense ranking the first few weeks, though that's mostly the product of getting to play back-up quarterbacks in half of their games thus far. In the first four weeks, they've only faced a team with passing attack ranked above 22nd place once. The other was the Bengals, whose are 6th because they put up big numbers on the Browns' and Patriots' shitty secondaries in comeback efforts. Should be interesting what the Broncos can do coming in with the passing yardage through the first quarter of the season. The Bungles get Tampa at home in a game they should win or we should stop taking them seriously if they don't. Keep close eyes on the Browns game against the Falcons at well. Cleveland is playing better this season even if their record isn't showing it yet. They finally held on for a win last week. Them taking down the Falcons should make Week 6's game look a bit more interesting.