Aug 28, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton (11) and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) smile on the field before playing the Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers MMQB: NFL Preseason Week 4 Wrap Up

What We Learned in Week 4 of the NFL Preseason:

  • Josh Gordon year-long suspension upheld
  • Aldon Smith suspended 9 games
  • Roger Goodell drops the hammer on domestic violence; immediately has it tested
  • Michael Sam cut from Rams; not picked up on practice squad
  • Steelers resume practice with roster and practice squad set

What a week in the NFL it has been. In addition to wrapping up the preseason, the NFL teams had to cut down their rosters and form their practice squads. On top of that it seems like half a dozen suspensions were handed out for various reasons. Busy week for sure. Best part is that we’ve just survived our last Sunday without NFL football until February! Give yourselves a hand, you made it through the toughest part of the year and now we only have a few more days left until kickoff. Let’s do this!

The Cleveland Browns will be without the services of their top wide receiver for the entire 2014 season. Josh Gordon’s appeal of his one-year suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy was denied last week as announced by the league. Gordon’s response to the suspension being upheld was questionable.

“I’d like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans. I am very disappointed that the NFL and its hearing office didn’t exercise better discretion and judgment in my case.” – Josh Gordon

Said the man who got a DUI while awaiting ruling on his one-year suspension for already violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Maybe he shouldn’t be the one disappointed in someone else’s judgment? A lot of internet outrage was spurned by the announcement of the suspension as it related to how the NFL handled Ray Rice. First and foremost anyone who doesn’t think that purple camo is a good look and has rational thoughts in their head doesn’t think that the Ray Rice suspension isn’t a complete and total joke. However, that doesn’t mean that Josh Gordon isn’t an idiot. Josh Gordon was not suspended for smoking a joint. He was suspended for repeated violations of the substance abuse policy, meaning there were more than one joints involved. Whatever your opinions or views on the legalization of marijuana is you’re an idiot if you think the best way to deal with the injustice over the substance being banned and deemed illegal is to just keep smoking it even though your bosses have already told you to stop and ordered you be tested for it on a regular basis. Josh Gordon deserved the suspension that he got because he agreed to the drug policy that is in place and was collectively bargained between the players and the league. No matter what anyone else was suspended for.

Speaking of suspensions, the league wasn’t done handing them out when it upheld Gordon’s suspension. The San Francisco 49ers will also be without linebacker Aldon Smith when he will be forced to sit out the first nine games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct and substance abuse policies. Aldon Smith has had multiple arrests for DUI’s since entering the league in 2011 along with some gun charges thrown in there for good measure. He left the team last season to enter substance abuse treatment after being arrested for another DUI on his way to practice in September of 2013. Even with the possible suspension looming the 49ers still picked up his 2015 contract option earlier in the offseason.

Roger Goodell was in a discipline kind of mood this week. On Thursday he apologized for his piss-poor handing of the Ray Rice suspension in a letter to NFL owners (because that’s exactly who he needs to apologize to) and announced that new violations of the personal conduct policy involving domestic violence would be subjected to a harsher scale of penalties. He explained that a first offense would be subject to a suspension without pay for six games and that a second offense would result in a ban from the league which can be reinstated after one year. He also expanded the policy to include all NFL personnel and not just players. Pretty tough huh? Basically what Goodell did here, and what he could have done all along under his sole authority with the personal conduct policy, is make it the NFLPA’s problem to fight for the rights of players who’ve committed acts of domestic violence. Who knows how this will end up playing out because the player’s union might just have a problem with Rogeez essentially creating a brand new policy right out of his own ass but he’s done quite the evil genius move by placing the ball entirely in their court on whether or not they’re willing to go to bat for players who beat women.

Rogeez doesn’t have time to worry about the nuts and bolts of how to apply his brand spanking new policy because he already has his first test case. San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested over the weekend for assault on his fiancé, who is pregnant, at a birthday party in which some of his 49ers teammates were in attendance. He was released on bond and was ordered to appear in court on Sept. 15th. Your move Rogeez. Now we’ll get to find out if he plans to consider an arrest the “offense” or will he wait and see how good McDonald’s lawyer is and how well he can get him off of these charges. Let that old “legal system” work its way through it for you, Rogeez.

History will not be made yet this season as Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL, was one of so many other players to be cut from rosters this weekend. Sam was cut by the St. Louis Rams, who were already stacked on the defensive line, and was also not picked up by them to be on their practice squad. Sam, a seventh round draft pick, definitely was never a lock to make the 53-man roster in spite of having a productive preseason. He’s now free to sign with any other team should they show interest.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will resume practice on the South Side facilities today in full preparations for Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns. The team cut 22 players on Saturday and added ten players to the practice squad on Sunday. With the roster more or less set for the regular season the team will now begin game preparations against the Browns.  The Steelers regular season kicks off less than a week from today so grab your Terrible Towels and get ready Steeler Nation!

Here we go Steelers! Here we go!

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Tags: Aldon Smith Josh Gordon Michael Sam Pittsburgh Steelers Ray McDonald Roger Goodell

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