Miami Dolphins wait as possible NFL suspension looms for Mike Pouncey
03/27/2014 12:01 AM
03/27/2014 4:04 PM
Giants coach Tom Coughlin doesn’t think John Jerry will be suspended.
Joe Philbin has been given no indication that Mike Pouncey will miss any time.
But all that matters is what the NFL thinks. And if the league determines that either Jerry or Pouncey lied to Ted Wells during his investigation into the Dolphins’ workplace environment, they will most likely be in line for some sort of punishment.
When asked Wednesday whether the NFL would take into account the players’ truthfulness when deciding on a suspension, new NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent replied: “Yes, you have to.”
Vincent, the former Dolphins cornerback, added: “You have to consider everything — the players, information, report. We’re making changes. We’re adjusting as information continues to come in.”
This is significant because on several occasions, Wells wrote that he didn’t find Pouncey’s account of events credible. And in one example — whether Pouncey directed insults toward Jonathan Martin’s sister — there was text-message evidence as proof.
Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday again declined to speculate about possible suspensions for Pouncey, Jerry (now a member of the Giants) and Richie Incognito. All three must go through mental evaluations before returning to the playing field.
“That’s a medical decision,” Goodell said at the NFL annual meeting’s closing news conference. “I’m not a medical professional. I’m not the one that that would dictate that.
“Those are done by our joint medical professionals between the players association and NFL. From our standpoint, the medical evaluation is going to determine what happens.”
In a 144-page report released last month, Wells concluded that Pouncey, Jerry and Incognito engaged in a pattern of harassment that lasted more than a year.
Incognito has since had a public breakdown and spent time in a mental health facility. Now out, Incognito wants to return to the NFL. Whether the league wants him back remains uncertain.
“I think we’ve seen a lot of people return,” Vincent said. “That will be up to Richie and his team and whatever coaching staff feels like will be appropriate or not appropriate to be on their ball club.”
By all indications, Miami is not an option. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross declined to comment Tuesday when asked whether Incognito could return to the team.
Meanwhile, Philbin has pledged to have a more visible and active role in his locker room to ensure such an environment not return. He spent much of the past three days in meetings with other coaches, hearing how much face time they spend with their athletes.
“Coach Philbin will adjust, I believe, after our conversations this week,” Vincent said. “That’s the special part about [them] as coaches, inside our industry, we’re flexible.”
And although the league has not yet decided on a uniform code of conduct, the competition committee has recommended that the existing unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty be emphasized and enforced. Abusive language will be closely monitored throughout the game.
“The locker room is unique; there are unique things that we have to think about,” Goodell said. “We want them to be professional. We want them to be comfortable for everybody in that locker room, so they can focus on their job.”
As for the Dolphins’ stadium-renovation proposal, Goodell said it was not discussed with the full membership this week. The plan — in which Ross would pay for the repairs himself in return for property tax relief — will at some point go before the league’s stadium committee.
“I did speak to Steve about it,” Goodell said. “I salute him for his commitment to try to make sure he brings a first-class stadium to that area. He’s committed to it. I think he’ll achieve it, and I think it will be great. It will be great for the Dolphins, it will be great for the NFL, and lots of great events will come there as a part of it.”• Vincent said Wednesday that during his 15-year NFL career, six gay teammates were open about their sexuality inside the locker room — including at least one in Miami. It was never a problem, he said.
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