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Roethlisberger won't appeal suspension

By the CNN Wire Staff
Ben Roethlisberger: "I am disappointed that I have reached this point and will not put myself in this situation again."
Ben Roethlisberger: "I am disappointed that I have reached this point and will not put myself in this situation again."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback won't appeal six-game suspension
  • Ben Roethlisberger also apologizes to his teammates and his fans
  • Woman had accused him of raping her in a Milledgeville, Georgia, bar
  • DA on not pursuing charges: "We do not prosecute morals. We prosecute crimes."
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(CNN) -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Monday he won't appeal the six-game suspension imposed by the National Football League and apologized to his teammates and fans for a night out that left him under a Georgia prosecutor's microscope.

"Missing games will be devastating for me," Roethlisberger said in a statement issued through the team.

"I am sorry to let down my teammates and the entire Steelers fan base. I am disappointed that I have reached this point and will not put myself in this situation again."

Roethlisberger, who led the Steelers to Super Bowl titles in 2006 and 2009, faced the threat of criminal charges after a woman accused him of raping her in a Milledgeville, Georgia, bar during a night of drinking in March.

The quarterback's lawyer said no sexual assault took place, and prosecutors decided earlier this month that they could not prove a crime had been committed.

But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell slapped the quarterback with a six-game suspension for "conduct detrimental to the NFL" last week, ordering him to undergo a "comprehensive behavioral evaluation by medical professionals," follow their recommendations and "avoid situations that can cause legal or other problems."

If Roethlisberger complies, the suspension could be cut to four games, or it could be extended if he doesn't, the league said.

In his statement, Roethlisberger said the suspension imposed last week "speaks clearly that more is expected of me," and he promised to "make the necessary improvements" in his behavior.

"Though I have committed no crime, I regret that I have fallen short of the values instilled in me by my family," he said. "I will not appeal the suspension and will comply with what is asked of me -- and more."

The 28-year-old quarterback owns a home at a lake near Milledgeville, Georgia, about 115 miles southeast of Atlanta.

Fred Bright, the district attorney in Milledgeville, told reporters at a news conference announcing the decision that Roethlisberger should "grow up." But he added, "We do not prosecute morals. We prosecute crimes."