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Big Ben could be down to his last chance in Pittsburgh

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As the Ben Roethlisberger investigation continues, the situation is having major potential ramifications within the walls of the Steelers organization.

We’ve been picking up indications of strong disapproval within the Rooney family regarding this latest charge of sexual assault, regardless of whether the allegation is legitimate or fabricated.

Jason La Canfora of NFL Network reported during Wednesday’s “Around the League” segment on Total Access that Roethlisberger already has met with ownership regarding the latest ordeal, and that the Rooneys are sufficiently “dismayed” with the situation to cause some in the building to believe that another incident could result in the end of Ben’s career in Pittsburgh.

His well-publicized $102 million contract is moving toward the big-salary years, with his base pay of $4.75 million in 2009 shooting to $8.05 million in 2010. Next year, his salary moves to $11.6 million per year, and it stays there through 2014. In 2015, his base pay inches to $12.1 million.

Bottom line? With no salary cap in place, the Steelers need not worry about financial ramifications associated with trading or cutting Roethlisberger. And with more than $54 million to be paid to him in salary over the next five years, the Steelers need to be sure that he deserves the money -- and that they still want to give it to him.

Right now, they’re probably having serious doubts about whether he’s the long-term answer at the most important position on the team.