With the Seattle Seahawks thin at linebacker with both Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright yet to practice this week in advance of the team’s game against the Chicago Bears on Monday, the Hawks added Mychal Kendricks. Kendricks, of course, may have a name that is more recognized by most fans for his recent guilty plea for securities fraud than for his play during the six seasons he spent with the Philadelphia Eagles, and that means a suspension is likely coming.
The question, though, becomes how long of a suspension is he potentially looking at and when would it be expected to come down?
The list of NFL players who have been arrested is long, and the league’s personal conduct policy most certainly includes suspensions for fraud, but the overwhelming majority of player arrests stem from offenses that are not white collar in nature. In fact, looking at past suspensions there is very little to rely on in terms of precedent for such crimes.
Former Seahawks coach Travis Jones, who spent four years as the defensive line coach for the Hawks before spending 2017 as the Senior Defensive Assistant was suspended for thirty days by the New Orleans Saints in 2010 after pleading guilty to mortgage fraud. However, that was in a coaching role and does not provide much guidance for the situation at hand.
Looking at the suspensions which the league handed down in the build up to the 2018 season, there are only a couple of suspensions which were not related to substance abuse matters. Names such as Mark Ingram, Julian Edelman, Robert Turbin and Thomas Davis all find themselves suspended for the first quarter of the season as a result of having failed a PED screening.
Thus, taking a look at the non-substance abuse related suspensions, these are the handful of players whose suspensions might be available for guidance:
- Dante Fowler (1 game)
- Nigel Bradham (1 game)
- Jameis Winston (3 games)
- Jimmy Smith (4 games)
Fowler, for those who are unaware, was suspended under the PCP for misdemeanor assault. He reportedly did not like the criticism of his driving leveled at him by a fellow motorist, so he made the very mature decision to resolve the matter through physical intimidation. In the parking lot of an apartment complex in St. Petersburg, FL, Fowler assaulted the man knocking off his glasses and breaking them, and took a bag of liquor from the victim and threw it into a lake on the grounds of the complex.
Moving on to Bradham, his suspension grows out of a felony assault conviction in Miami (what is it about Florida?) where Bradham and a group of five other people physically assaulted a cabana boy. According to reports, Bradham and the other members of his party were at the beach for the day and paid for umbrella, but the cabana boy did not bring the umbrella as quickly as they would have liked. Things escalated from there, and the result was Bradham and his group fleeing the scene after Bradham had punched the cabana boy.
Next in the list is Jameis Winston. Winston was suspended just three games for “inappropriately touching” an Uber driver in 2016, a suspension which runs through Week 3 of the 2018 season. Lastly, Jimmy Smith was found by the league to have exhibited ”a pattern of threatening and emotionally abusive behavior” towards his former girlfriend, and was given a suspension of four games.
In comparing what Kendricks did to these four suspensions, my personal feelings are that his actions warrant a suspension longer than the one game given to either Bradham or Fowler. However, I have no illusions that what Kendricks did pales in comparison to offenses of Winston and Smith. I’d rather have an entire defense made up of Kendricks clones than a single member of the team who participated in the behavior in which Smith or Winston engaged.
Thus, I’d expect that if and when a suspension comes down it will fall in the middle of these categories in terms of duration. Therefore, my guess is that any suspension for Kendricks is likely to be just two games. Now we just have to wait for the final determination of the league, but I assure you that if Kendricks somehow ends up suspended for three or more games there is likely to be an uproar that the league would much rather avoid.