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With the possibility that the Steelers trade for Deshaun Watson, it got me thinking back to how the Steelers handled the situation when Ben Roethlisberger had two sexual assault allegations against him.
On Friday, the grand jury ruled that Watson was not guilty when it came to criminal charges. However, Watson is still facing 22 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct. It's possible that Watson could face a suspension this season, as well. Just like how Roethlisberger was suspended for six games in 2010, which was later reduced to four.
Roethlisberger wasn't charged with either accusation, the 2009 one was settled and the 2010 one was dropped, but at the time, the Steelers' patience with Roethlisberger was growing thin and they were looking to trade him.
The Steelers even approached the Raiders and Rams about a trade in 2010 after Roethlisberger's second sexual assault assertion. They also tried to land Donovan McNabb before the Eagles traded him to Washington in April of 2009.
It was reported at the time that the Steelers wanted to send Roethlisberger to the Rams as part of a package to move up to No. 1 overall in the draft to select Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford. The Rams denied the offer, obviously.
In January, Mike Singletary revealed to Dan Pompei of The Athletic that the 49ers had a trade in place for Roethlisberger, who was accused of sexual assault in July of 2009.
Pompei wrote that then, 49ers owner John York, CEO Jed York, director of player personnel Trent Baalke and other executives called Singletary to a meeting to discuss the trade proposal for Roethlisberger. Singletary vetoed the deal, as he saw potential in fifth-year quarterback Alex Smith.
Singletary was committed to Smith, but if he had to go back in time, he wishes he would have gone through on the trade request for Roethlisberger.
“I had been telling the team I wanted a team of character,” Singletary told Pompei. “I felt I had to be true to that. But if I could do it again, I’d do it differently.”
Along with Shaun King, Kimberley Martin also reported that the Steelers are interested in Watson. King stuck with his initial report and said on Friday night that Watson’s ultimate destination and landing spot is Pittsburgh. However, Gerry Dulac, Jason La Canfora and Aaron Wilson are saying that the Steelers have expressed no interest in Watson. So, the reports are all over the place.
According to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the Saints and Panthers have made offers to the Texans for Watson and are likely to meet with him soon. So, it seems like the Steelers are really not in the mix as of right now. The Texans reportedly still want three first-round pick and players for Watson.
Given the Steelers history, it's hard to imagine Art Rooney II giving up that much draft capital. In addition, Watson still has 22 civil lawsuits against him. There's a lot of risk involved, and I'm willing to bet that it's a deal that Rooney doesn't want to make. The Roethlisberger situation 12 years ago was different because he was already on the team.