Haynesworth Suspended Five Games

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 3, 2006

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 2 -- The NFL suspended Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth for five games without pay for Sunday's incident during the Titans' loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Nashville.

Haynesworth kicked Cowboys center Andre Gurode twice in the head, once after Gurode's helmet was knocked off, following a third-quarter play. Haynesworth was ejected from the game and received two 15-yard penalties, the second for throwing his helmet in anger as officials escorted him off the field.

There were conflicting versions about how much the suspension will cost Haynesworth. One NFL source said Haynesworth would lose about $470,000, or five-seventeenths of a $1.6 million salary. But Haynesworth's salary for the season is listed in players' union records as $646,251, meaning he would lose $190,073.

It is the stiffest penalty in NFL history for an on-field incident. The previous record, according to the league, was a two-game suspension levied on Green Bay Packers defensive end Charles Martin for body-slamming Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon in 1986.

"There is absolutely no place in the game, or anywhere else, for the inexcusable action that occurred in [Sunday's] Titans-Cowboys game," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

Usually, disciplinary action resulting from on-field incidents comes later in the week. Ray Anderson, the NFL's senior vice president of football operations, attended the game, watching from the press box. He was on the phone with other league officials immediately after the incident. The league announced that the penalty was imposed by Gene Washington, the NFL's director of football operations.

The league announced that the suspension would begin immediately. NFL Players Association officials could not be reached to determine whether there would be an appeal.

A spokeswoman for the Davidson County district attorney general's office said that the office would consider possible charges against Haynesworth for the incident if Gurode wanted to file a complaint. "We're aware of the situation," the spokeswoman, Susan Niland, said by telephone. "If anything along those lines would come to pass, we would look at it. Independent of a victim's complaint, we would not pursue it independently."

No complaint had been filed in the case as of Monday afternoon, Niland said. Representatives of the district attorney's office and the Nashville police department reportedly contacted the Cowboys on Monday regarding the issue of whether charges will be filed against Haynesworth. A Cowboys spokesman said the team had no comment about possible charges stemming from the incident.

Haynesworth said after the game that he had disgraced himself, his team and the sport. Titans Coach Jeff Fisher said there was no excuse for Haynesworth's conduct.

Gurode, who received stitches in the locker room to close a gash on his head and returned to the Cowboys' sideline late in the game, said there had been no physical or verbal exchanges on the field to prompt Haynesworth's attack.

· SEAHAWKS: Seattle's charter plane made an unscheduled stop late Sunday to get medical care for Ray Rhodes, a special defensive assistant and former NFL head coach. The team said upon its return from a 37-6 loss at Chicago that the stop in Rapid City, S.D., for Rhodes was "precautionary" and was done on the advice of team physicians on board.

The exact nature of Rhodes's situation was not immediately disclosed.

· BUCCANEERS: Tampa Bay quarterback Chris Simms was released from St. Joseph's Hospital on Saturday, six days after undergoing surgery to remove a ruptured spleen.

· SCHEDULE CONCERNS: Minnesota will move its game against Detroit from Sunday to Monday night if the Twins and Athletics go to a fifth game in their first-round baseball playoff series. The Vikings-Lions game is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Metrodome, but Game 5 of the Twins-A's series also will be Sunday at the Metrodome.

News services contributed to this report.

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