Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback

Ben Roethlisberger

yesterday made his first public comments since being suspended by NFL commissioner

Roger Goodell

for six games on April 21.

He said he's ready to make major changes to a lifestyle that cast him as a role model for bad behavior by privileged pro athletes with a sense of entitlement.

"I've spent a lot of time evaluating and looking at my life both on and off the field," Roethlisberger said in brief remarks following a Steelers voluntary practice. "I think this is a time for me to kind of close the chapter of the last couple of years of my life and move on to a new one, kind of a new start. I'm kind of really excited about it."

Roethlisberger, accused twice of sexual assault in the last 2 years, pledged to make smarter decisions during what he called "the second chance" he's received to turn around his life. He also said he's working closely with Goodell to rehabilitate his lifestyle and repair an image that's been tarnished by his boorish behavior.

Roethlisberger, known for frequenting nightclubs with an entourage of friends, did not specify what changes he is making.

Roethlisberger stopped short of apologizing for his behavior.

In other NFL news:

* Former Cincinnati kicker Shayne Graham signed a 1-year contract as a free agent with Baltimore.

* New York Jets All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis sat out of voluntary practice while he seeks a new contract. Also, quarterback Mark Sanchez said his surgically repaired left knee is feeling good and he is confident he will be able to fully participate during the team's minicamp in less than 2 weeks.

Soccer

* Nelson Mandela met with South Africa's national soccer team, and the country's ruling party said its most famous citizen will attend the World Cup's opening game and the final.

* U.S. forward Jozy Altidore sprained an ankle during a training drill and is day-to-day.

* Brazilian prosecutors say there are "strong indications" soccer star Adriano transferred money to a notorious drug lord held responsible for attacking a police helicopter last year.

Philly File

* The Penn State at Alabama football game on Sept. 11 will kick off at 7 p.m. and be televised by ESPN.

* Rutgers-Camden has named Jason Cubison as its men's basketball coach and Gail Gilchrist its women's coach.

* Brooke Darreff (softball) and Kyle Murray (cross country, track), of Saint Joseph's, have been named the recipients of the Atlantic 10 Sporting Award. It is presented annually to a male and female student-athlete who exemplifies good sportsmanship.

Sport Stops

* After daylong discussions regarding the possible breakup of the Big 12, a scheduled news conference was abruptly canceled, fueling speculation that the 12 schools are far from agreement.

* New York Islanders forward John Tavares said he has a stress fracture in his right foot from the world championships.