Just four weeks into the season there are a few observations that need to be made. Donovan McNabb, Drew Brees and Carson Palmer are all recovering from season ending injuries from a year ago and at the top of their games. Terrell Owens is doing exactly what we thought he would in Dallas. Marty Schottheimer still has not figured out how to win a big game. With the Odell Thurman suspended for the year, Albert Haynesworth suspended for five games, and Koren Robinson sentenced to 90 days in jail, one should say there is something very wrong with some of the players in this league. With the NFL enjoying immense prosperity, some are becoming increasingly disenfranchised with a league that is making equal headline on both the positive and negative side of the ball. Roger Goodell needs to get control of his league, and he needs to get control quickly. Dishing out the largest suspension for an in-game incident is a start. What Albert Haynesworth did last weekend was a gutless act by a coward of man. For anyone who didn’t see the incident, Haynesworth intentionally stepped on the face of Cowboys center Andre Gurode. What made this act so cowardly was the fact that Gurode was laying on the bottom of the pile with out his helmet. This was a case of assault, plain and simple, and not Haynesworth’s first time either. This is the same man who tried to attack a teammate with a pole while at the University of Tennessee. Haynesworth should feel fortunate to walk out of the stadium last weekend with out the aid of the police, and their handcuffs.
Terrance Kiel, starting strong safety for the San Diego Chargers was arrested by the DEA for shipping two parcels of codeine laced cough syrup to Texas. Kiel admitted to sending to each contained prescription cough syrup to Texas that had been repackaged in pint-sized water bottles. DEA agents called Kiel in off the practice field last week, read him his rights and then executed the search warrants on his vehicle and home. The reports are that FedEx searched a package sent by Kiel back in June and found 15 bottles of the cough syrup. Two weeks ago, they found the same, which led them to contact the DEA. There have been reports of wide spread abuse of the narcotic laced cough syrup, people are mixing the cough syrup with other drugs or drinking it mixed with soda. Kiel who makes approximately $500,000 per year, obviously needed to earn the two to three hundred dollars per bottle that the shipment would bring him. This is San Diego’s second run in with the law, linebacker Steve Foley was shot by a police officer outside his home who suspected him of drunk driving. The investigation into that case is still going on.
Our final stop is Cincinnati, a team full of legal problems. We can talk about Odell Thurman, who is now out for the year for violation of the leagues substance abuse policy. This followed a drunk driving incident, where Thurman can be seen on the police camera barely able to stand. The police are reporting that Thurman’s blood alcohol was 0.18 percent when he was arrested, which is more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent in Ohio. Thurman was in court for this incident on the same day his initial suspension for missing a drug test was to end. So now the Cincinnati is without Thurman’s 106 tackles and five interceptions. Was there anyone in the passenger’s seat you ask? Oh yes, it is Chris Henry who has been arrested on multiple occasions for a variety of offenses. Henry has now pled guilty on a marijuana and gun possession charges, which has earned him a three game suspension. Marvin Lewis suspended Henry for one game for his part in the Thurman incident, and Goodell has levied two more on top of that for violations of the leagues substance and conduct abuse policies. Once all of Henry’s legal matters have been finalized there will be another suspension for him coming.
Roger Goodell has inherited a league with a great deal of discipline problems. The Commissioner will get this under control that I can tell you right now. He has shown already that he does not sweep incidents like this under the rug in order to save a prime time performer, he suspends who he needs to suspend. The NFL has taken over the American landscape, but continual player problems such as this will lead to some definite fan loss, that is why Goodell must feel the urgency to put an end to the incidents now.