Commissioner Goodell to fine clubs for player misbehavior

ATLANTA -- The NFL reinforced its personal conduct policy on Tuesday when Commissioner Roger Goodell announced he would fine teams whose players were suspended for disciplinary reasons.

The league's 32 owners decided unanimously to shorten a deal they no longer believed was working for them. Vic Carucci says one thing needs to be made clear from the start: The NFL sky is not falling.

The owners did not put the immediate future of their game in peril. They did not draw a proverbial line in the sand for the NFL Players Association, looking to instigate the sort of ugly labor fight they've been able to avoid for more than two decades. More

"We want to continue to emphasize personal conduct and personal responsibility," he said at the NFL Spring Meeting. "One way to do it is to hold teams responsible for the conduct of their players.

Goodell instituted a tougher policy during the 2006 season, his first as commissioner, after a series of arrests, nine alone affecting the Cincinnati Bengals.

Two Bengals, wide receiver Chris Henry and linebacker Odell Thurman, received lengthy suspensions -- Thurman for two years. Both were cut by the team after being reinstated.

Goodell also said he would meet soon with another major offender, cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones, who was suspended for all of last season following a series of run-ins with the law. Jones was traded last month from Tennessee to Dallas and has petitioned for the right to work out with his new team, something he will need permission from the league to do.

In other items:

» The league tabled the proposal, first made by the Kansas City Chiefs, that would bar players from taking the field with hair below their shoulders. "I want to get more from the players on how they feel about it," said Goodell, who discussed the matter recently with his players council.

» Goodell said he is working with the teams on a policy to curb rowdy fan behavior, although he acknowledged that the ways to do that varied from stadium to stadium. The commissioner, who attended a game in Foxborough last year as a fan along with his 13-year-old niece, said he wanted to find ways to make games a pleasant experience for all fans.

» The league announced a schedule of visits to the Hall of Fame for rookies from all 32 teams. They will run for five weeks until the end of June with Colts and Redskins rookies visiting in August, when their teams participate in the Hall of Fame Game. The idea was suggested to Goodell by former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin when he was inducted into the Hall last summer.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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