PITTSBURGH — The Steelers
reacquired quarterback Byron Leftwich by dealing a seventh-round draft
pick to Tampa Bay, a sign they expect Ben Roethlisberger to be suspended
for the start of the season.
Leftwich backed up Roethlisberger
in 2008, when the Steelers won the Super Bowl. He knows offensive
coordinator Bruce Arians' system and could be ready to play Sept. 12
when the Steelers open against Atlanta.
The Steelers play three teams
that didn't make the playoffs — the Falcons, Bucs and Titans — plus
division rival Baltimore in their first four games, a period that could
span any Roethlisberger suspension.
Pittsburgh already has third-year
quarterback Dennis Dixon and longtime backup Charlie Batch under
contract. Batch has been injured each of the past two seasons. Dixon has
started only one NFL game.
The Steelers could learn as early
as Wednesday if Roethlisberger will be suspended for violating the
NFL's personal conduct policy.