Roethlisberger Evaluation? Details Scarce

By Brown, Scott | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 3, 2010 | Go to article overview

Roethlisberger Evaluation? Details Scarce


Brown, Scott, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is expected to practice Tuesday, his first official team contact since NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him April 21 for boorish behavior.

His return may suggest Roethlisberger, 28, has not been ordered into any in-patient treatment program. Goodell declared the superstar violated the NFL's personal-conduct policy after a booze- filled night in Georgia that ended in a rape allegation.

But don't ask Roethlisberger, the Steelers or the NFL to detail what prompted Goodell to clear the quarterback for practice this week. No one would discuss the nature of the evaluation or the types of tests Roethlisberger underwent.

"It's an early intervention step to address a potential problem if an NFL employee demonstrates conduct that is troubling," said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, who declined to discuss specifics.

Agent Ryan Tollner, who represents Roethlisberger, also declined to comment. So did the National Football League Players Association.

"We're informed of his progress in the programs," said union spokesman Carl Francis, who declined to be more specific.

Roethlisberger is the first player to be suspended without being charged with a crime since Goodell implemented the personal-conduct policy in April 2007.

Two clinical psychologists contacted by The Tribune-Review were asked what might take place during the behavioral evaluation.

The psychologists agreed to speak in general terms since neither man has examined Roethlisberger.

Dr. Paul J. Friday, a Pittsburgh-based clinical psychologist, and Dr. Leonard Simms, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Buffalo, both said Roethlisberger would have undergone a battery of tests during his evaluation.

One test might be the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), Friday said.

It is a 567-question examination that reveals different aspects of a patient's personality -- and helps doctors determine whether some sort of disorder exists.

A key element of MMPI and other standardized tests used in behavioral evaluations, Friday said, is they are nearly impossible to manipulate.

"You can tell whether somebody is faking or not," Friday said. "They're very, very sophisticated mathematical, embedded questions that are evaluated that if you answer in a particular way, you will fall into a group of people who are faking good or faking bad. …

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