PITTSBURGH - You've seen it happen more than once.
An athlete gets in trouble, and makes a public apology. He reads words from a sheet of paper and gives the impression he's seeing those words for the first time.
Talk is cheap, so there's always plenty of it in situations like that.
Ben Roethlisberger did the public apology twice. He got his name in headlines for the wrong reasons in two consecutive off-seasons, and then had the standard handler-arranged response.
Roethlisberger's second transgression earned him a four-game suspension from the NFL. The Pittsburgh Steelers opened the season without their starting quarterback.
Maybe that had an especially big impact on Roethlisberger. Maybe it was the words of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who essentially told him to straighten up. Perhaps there were strong words from coaches, teammates or Steelers ownership.
Whatever happened, it appears that Roethlisberger has made some definite changes in his life.
Beyond the mandatory public apology, it appears he's taken stock of where he was and decided to do things differently.
Last summer he got married. Over the weekend, he announced that he and his wife are expecting the birth of their first child later this year.
There have been no reports of unsavory behavior. It appears Roethlisberger is a better teammate. He's more accommodating to the media and fans.
It appears he's a different person, and a better one.
Sometimes those apologies athletes read last as long as it takes to crumple and discard the paper. In this case, it looks like Roethlisberger took those words to heart.
Good for him, good for the Steelers.
Make a deal
Rest easy, Pirates fans.
If the team stays in contention, there will be a trade for offensive help, much like there was last year when Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick were acquired.
Teams that have fallen out will become sellers and will look to unload contracts for the last few months.
There will be players available, and the Pirates will get someone with the idea of boosting the offense.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org