Largest Suspension in NFL History:

On Sunday, the Tennessee Titans' Albert Haynesworth stomped on the head of the Dallas Cowboys' Andre Gurode, while Gurode was lying on the ground at the end of a play without his helmet. Gurode required 30 stitches and may press charges.

The NFL responded swiftly, suspending Haynesworth for five games. This is the longest suspension [for on-field conduct] in league history. Indeed, until now the league had not supsended a player for more than two games. Because players are not paid during suspensions, Haynesworth stands to lose approximately $500,000 for his conduct. This suspension was also the first significant disciplinary decision made since Roger Goodell assumed the post of NFL commissioner.

Haynesworth will not appeal the suspension, according to Titans coach Jeff Fisher. Nonetheless, the NFL Players Association indicated it may challenge the suspension. Fisher's respsonse seems more appropraite: This was a severe and unprecedented disciplinary action, but such is appropriate for such a severe case of unacceptable on-field conduct.

[Note: Post edited as indicated above to correct a minor error.]

Haynesworth Apologizes, Will Not Appeal:

ESPN reports that Albert Haynesworth personally apologized to Andre Gurode over the phone for stomping on Gurode's face during Sunday's game between the Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys. Further, Haynesworth says he accepts his punishment and will not appeal the five game suspension -- a suspension that will cost him close to $200,000 in lost salary. The NFL Players Association wanted to appeal the suspension, which is more than double the longest suspension ever for on-field conduct (two-games for throwing a quarterback onto the ground after the play ended), but such an appeal would seem to be difficult without Haynesworth's support.

There is still no word on whether Haynesworth could face additional penalties in court. Gurode is still weighing whether to press criminal charges or file a civil suit against Haynesworth. I suspect the latter decision will depend, in part, on the extent of the damage Gurode suffered. As of this morning, the press reported Gurode is still suffering from blurred vision.

NFLPA Won't Appeal Haynesworth Suspension:

An Associated Press story indicates that the NFL Players Association will not challenge Haynesworth's suspension after all. Said NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw: "We represent both players here, and it is best for all concerned that we let the suspension stand." Still no word on potential criminal charges or a civil suit, but Andre Gurode is expected to practice today, and could be available for Sunday's game.

UPDATE: Haynesworth will not face criminal charges, according to this report, but he may yet face a civil suit, and the Tennessee Titans are considering whether to release him.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. NFLPA Won't Appeal Haynesworth Suspension:
  2. Haynesworth Apologizes, Will Not Appeal:
  3. Largest Suspension in NFL History: