Suspended 5 games
The NFL handed down an unprecedented five-game suspension on Monday to Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth for kicking Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode in the head.
That length of suspension represents the biggest on-field disciplinary action in league history. Charles Martin held the previous high for a suspension, sitting two games for his bodyslam of Bears quarterback Jim McMahon on Nov. 23, 1986.
"This is an unprecedented suspension. I feel like his actions on the field were also unprecented," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.
The coach indicated that Haynesworth would not appeal the decision.
"I felt there needed to be some serious action taken from a discipline standpoint, and I think what the league has done now is adequate," he said.
The suspension will cost Haynesworth $190,070 -- $38,014 per game -- which adds up to five-seventeenths of his 2006 base salary of $646,251.
"I think five games, five paychecks is substantial," Fisher said.
The suspension takes effect immediately. Haynesworth can return on Nov. 19 for the Titans' game at Philadelphia.
"There is absolutely no place in the game, or anywhere else, for the inexcusable action that occurred in yesterday's Titans-Cowboys game," commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.
Haynesworth was contrite after the incident.
"I apologize to Andre," he said Sunday. "What I did was disgusting. It's something that should never happen. I mean, I'm not a dirty player. I don't play dirty. I have respect for the game. What I feel like is I disgraced the game, disgraced my team and disgraced my last name."
Julius Jones had just scored on a 5-yard run, putting Dallas up 20-6 in what wound up as a 45-14 victory. Gurode's helmet came off, and Haynesworth, standing over him, used his right foot to kick Gurode in the head.
The action could potentially cost Haynesworth more than a suspension from the football field. The Nashville, Tenn., police department issued a statement saying it "stands ready to assist [Andre] Gurode in criminally prosecuting [Albert] Haynesworth if Gurode so chooses."
Gurode's cooperation appears key to any charges being filed against Haynesworth.
"In assault situations, an affirmative desire for prosecution and an acknowledgement of cooperation from the victim, in this case Gurode, are preferable before officers and prosecuting attorneys move forward with the development of a case," the statement continued.
Gurode said that he and Haynesworth hadn't been talking or having any exchanges that led to the Titans' player kicking him twice. Gurode received stitches above his forehead and beneath his eye.
"In all my years of football, this has never happened to me. I've never been kicked in the face like this, and I've never seen anybody kick nobody else in the face," Gurode said.
A flag was thrown, and Haynesworth followed an official toward the Titans' sideline, protesting.
Haynesworth pulled off his helmet and slammed it to the ground, prompting another flag. Referee Jerome Boger disqualified Haynesworth, and the player walked off the field after talking briefly with Fisher.
"It's ridiculous to get to that point. Two back-to-back penalties like that, there's no place for it," Fisher said.
Gurode didn't play the rest of the second half.
"This vision was kind of blurry in my left eye," he said. "If it was clear, I would have tried to come back in to play."