FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth will be reinstated to play at some point after Sunday's Super Bowl, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday at his annual state-of-the-league address. Stallworth was suspended without pay for the 2009 season last August after reaching a plea agreement on a DUI manslaughter charge in Miami.
Stallworth, who was under the influence while driving, struck and killed a pedestrian while driving on a causeway connecting Miami and Miami Beach on March 14, 2009. He served 24 days in jail and was placed on house arrest. Goodell did not say exactly when reinstatement into the NFL was forthcoming but it seems sooner, rather than later.
Goodell said he met with Stallworth for 45 minutes to an hour before the Dolphins' final regular-season game in Miami, where Stallworth lives. Goodell added that Stallworth seemed to be remorseful and worthy of reinstatement. Their conversation helped seal the reinstatement, Goodell said. Once Stallworth is re-instated, it will be up to the Browns and new team president Mike Holmgren as to whether the team wants to retain the receiver.
"We really haven't (made a decision)," Browns general manager Tom Heckert told reporters Wednesday. "It's something Randy (Browns owner Randy Lerner) is probably going to be involved in as well. We'll have to discuss it as an organization."
Cleveland drafted wideouts Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie last season and has on its roster Pro Bowl return man/receiver Josh Cribbs, who could have his contract re-worked upwards. If Stallworth is released by Cleveland, he would be a free agent that could prove valuable to several receiver-needy teams like St. Louis, Chicago and Miami.
Whether those teams want to deal with the potential PR backlash is something that could impact Stallworth's employability.