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Pac-Man Suspended The Season; Henry For Eight Games

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There's a new sheriff in town, and in the immortal words of Kurt Russell's Wyatt Earp, "You called down the thunder, and now you've got it!".  NFL Commissioner Roger Gooddell made good on his promise to be tough on repeat offenders and overall bad guys by handing down the toughest suspensions ever for off-field transgressions not related to failed drug tests.

NFL.com is reporting that Tennessee Titans CB Adam "Pac-Man" Jones has been suspended for the entire 2007 season, while Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry will miss eight games for their various, and numerous, run-ins with the law the past 12 months.

"We must protect the integrity of the NFL," Commissioner Goodell said. "The highest standards of conduct must be met by everyone in the NFL because it is a privilege to represent the NFL, not a right. These players, and all members of our league, have to make the right choices and decisions in their conduct on a consistent basis."

Each player received a leetter from the Commissioner, and to his credit he didn't mince any words --

"Your conduct has brought embarrassment and ridicule upon yourself, your club, and the NFL, and has damaged the reputation of players throughout the league. You have put in jeopardy an otherwise promising NFL career, and have risked both your own safety and the safety of others through your off-field actions. In each of these respects, you have engaged in conduct detrimental to the NFL and failed to live up to the standards expected of NFL players. Taken as a whole, this conduct warrants significant sanction."

The article went on to get specific about the conditions of each suspension --


Jones will be strictly monitored by the Titans and the NFL during the suspension as part of his opportunity to earn reinstatement through adherence to a set of conditions. His status will be reviewed after the Titans' 10th regular-season game to determine the extent to which he has complied with the conditions and whether the suspension should be affected by the disposition of any pending or prospective charges.

The specific conditions that apply to Jones' suspension include the following:

**He must have no further adverse involvement with law enforcement.

**He must fully cooperate with all required counseling, education, and treatment assigned under league or court-ordered programs.

**He must adhere to the restrictions on his activities that have been agreed to by he and the Titans.

**He may not be at the Titans' facility through May 31 and may not participate in any practices or organized workouts during the term of the suspension. Beginning June 1, he must visit the team facility once each week to meet with the team's player development director. Also, beginning June 1, he is permitted to spend one day a week at the team facility for conditioning, film study, and other similar activities.

**In conjunction with the team's player development director and other professionals working with him, Jones must develop with the Titans a structured program of community service or other activity. This program must be submitted to the league office for review and approval.

Henry will be reinstated after the Bengals' eighth regular-season game if he meets certain conditions during his suspension that will be monitored closely by the Bengals and the NFL. Those conditions include the following:

**He must have no further adverse involvement with law enforcement.

**He must fully cooperate with all required counseling, education, and treatment assigned to him under league programs.

**He is eligible to be at the Bengals' facilities during the rest of the offseason for customary activities and he must meet weekly with the team's player development director.

**If he fully complies with all other conditions, he may participate in the Bengals' training camp and preseason games.

**During the regular season, he is permitted to be at the Bengals' facility for team meetings and must meet weekly with the team's player development director, but he may not attend or participate in practice.

**He must fully comply with all conditions imposed on him by any court, including requirements of community service.

Jones and Henry were told that any failure to comply with these conditions will result in additional discipline, including possible banishment from the league.

No doubt this is as tough as it gets, and puts the Player's Association in a tough spot.  Appeal the suspensions, and it gives the impression that Gene Upshaw and the NFLPA doesn't find off-field improprieties, like those of Henry and Jones, serious.  Don't appeal, and it gives the impression that Upshaw is the "whipping boy" of the NFL Commissioner, similar to what Bryant Gumbel said on his show a few months back.

In my opinion, the punishment equals the crime, or in the case of these two scumbags, crimes, and sends a message that most players will agree with -- Playing in the NFL is a privelage, not a right, and it has to be taken seriously, or it can and will be taken away from you.  I applaud the commissioner, and hope the players take their medicine, stay clean, and get back on the field when they deserve to be there.