I was looking on the internet to find the longest suspensions in the NFL because I was very interested to see what players have been suspended for more than 6 games. I was lucky to find an article by the New York Times that broke down 18 players who have been suspended longer than six games, and I was really impressed with their breakdown.
Let’s look at the suspensions! Did you know that Michael Vick had the longest suspension in NFL history? I knew it was a long time but I guess I didn’t realize it was 2 years. Interesting…
So let’s look at the players suspended more than 1 season, according to NYT.
Michael Vick. Vick, a former Atlanta quarterback, was indefinitely suspended in 2007 for his role in a dogfighting scandal. The suspension lasted two seasons; Vick was reinstated before the 2009 season after serving an 18-month prison sentence.
Aldon Smith. Smith, a defensive end who played for San Francisco and Oakland, was suspended in 2015 for a violation of the substance abuse policy (he had been charged with drunken driving). The suspension lasted until Smith was signed by Dallas in 2020 and reinstated.
Dominic Rhodes. Rhodes, a running back who played for several teams, was suspended indefinitely in 2011 after failing a third drug test. He was reinstated in 2014.
Jerrell Freeman. Freeman, a linebacker, was suspended twice for multiple games after positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs while with Chicago in 2016 and 2017. The N.F.L. suspended him for two years for another failed test in 2018, though he announced his retirement days before the suspension.
Adam (Pacman) Jones. Jones, a cornerback then with Tennessee, was suspended for the 2007 season after multiple arrests, including for his role in a fight at a strip club that led to three people being shot.
Calvin Ridley. Ridley, an Atlanta receiver, was suspended for at least a year after he bet on N.F.L. games while away from the team during the 2021 season.
Donte’ Stallworth. After striking and killing a pedestrian in Miami Beach while driving drunk, Stallworth, then a receiver with Cleveland, was suspended for the entire 2009 season. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Darren Waller. In 2017, Waller, then a Baltimore tight end, was suspended for at least one year for violating the substance abuse policy. He had been suspended for four games in the 2016 season for the same violation. He was reinstated in 2018.
Martavis Bryant. Bryant, a receiver, was suspended for at least one year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy in 2016. After being conditionally reinstated in April 2017, Bryant was suspended indefinitely in 2018 for violating the terms of the reinstatement.
Travis Henry. In 2008, Henry, then a Denver running back, was suspended for at least one year after he tested positive for marijuana for the third time. Before his suspension was complete, Henry was sentenced to three years in prison for financing a drug operation. The N.F.L. reinstated him in 2012.
Josh Gordon. Gordon, a receiver currently with Kansas City, has been suspended six times for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, including a suspension for the entire 2015 season. He was most recently suspended in January 2021 and reinstated in September 2021.
12 games / 12 weeks
Ray Rice. Rice was initially suspended for two games by the N.F.L. after his arrest on domestic violence charges in July 2014. Two months later, after TMZ released a more graphic video of the assault that showed Rice knocking his fiancée unconscious in a hotel elevator, Baltimore released the running back and he was suspended indefinitely by the N.F.L. Rice was reinstated on Nov. 28, after the first 12 weeks of the 2014 season, but he was never signed by a team.
Vontaze Burfict. Burfict, an Oakland linebacker, was suspended for the remainder of the 2019 season after his helmet-to-helmet hit to Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle in a Week 4 game. Burfict’s penalty, the N.F.L.’s longest suspension ever for on-field actions, took into account his lengthy history of violations of the league’s player safety policies.
Josh Brent: For his role in the 2013 drunken driving death of a Dallas teammate, Brent, a defensive tackle, was suspended for 10 games of the 2014 season. He was also sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation.
Antonio Brown. In 2020, the league suspended Brown, a receiver who was a free agent at the time, for sending threatening texts to a woman who accused him of sexual misconduct, and for his role in a dispute with a moving company employee. He pleaded no contest to burglary and battery charges and received two years of probation. Brown denied the sexual misconduct claim.
Chris Henry. The league suspended Henry, a Cincinnati receiver, in 2007 after he was arrested four times between December 2005 and June 2006.
Terry (Tank) Johnson. Johnson, a defensive tackle then with Chicago, was suspended in 2007 after the police raided his home and found six unregistered firearms, a violation of his probation on an earlier gun charge.
Mychal Kendricks. Kendricks was suspended after pleading guilty to two insider trading charges in 2018.
After reading all that information from the New York Times, I have one question, do you feel the Deshaun Watson decision is fair? Six games for 20 plus sexual misconduct allegations? I just wanted to see if it was fair, because past practice definitely comes into play.