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Mike Tomlin on Roethlisberger: "By no means is it comfortable, but such is life"

Orlando — As he walked into a breakfast session with reporters today at the NFL owners meetings, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin knew where he'd be sitting.

"I didn't need to see my name tag," he said. "I just figured I'd come to where the crowd is." 

The crowd of media had gathered around Tomlin's table to hear him address the Ben Roethlisberger situation. The quarterback (pictured) is under investigation for an alleged sexual assault of a 20-year-old woman in Milledgeville, Ga. earlier this month.

"I've had pretty fluid daily contact with him, like I always do," Tomlin said. "Of course, these are a difficult set of circumstances. I have nothing further to add, for the simple reason that nothing has changed in terms of the investigation. We're in a wait-and-see mode. By no means is it comfortable, but such is life. As the investigation moves forward, as it runs its course, we'll have the appropriate statements. It doesn't serve the organization well, and it doesn't serve Ben to add comments."

Tomlin said he was uncertain if Roethlisberger would be in attendance when the Steelers report for their off-season conditioning program. 

"We haven't crossed that bridge yet," he said. "March 29, that's Ben's date. We'll see where we are by then."

Tomlin said the team is extremely sensitive to the nature of the charges, and added that "all uf us are held to an extremely high standard. We've got to tote luggage that comes with it. It's well known that we're very conscious about how we do business, very highly conscious about our image, our standards of conduct. I think it's above and beyond that of our peers, and we embrace that." 

Tomlin said Roethlisberger himself called the coach a few hours after the incident occurred. "The sun wasn't up, but it wouldn't technically be the middle of the night." 

Will Roethlisberger's situation be a distraction? "It's a distraction if we lose," Tomlin said. "We're paid to deal with distractions. In the years I've been in this league, I've learned to embrace what people call distractions. It comes with being successful. Elite teams find ways to overcome those things. We'll see how we deal with it."

Asked about the possibility of a suspension, Tomlin said: "All we're doing is watching the investigation. We're being very deliberate in our actions. Time is on our side in terms of some decisions we have to make." 

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said yesterday that he would meet soon with Roethlisberger to discuss his situation. Goodell is empowered to suspend Roethlisberger, even if he is not convicted of a crime.

New York Sports