Dolphins center Mike Pouncey is in a state of football limbo — able to work out with his team, but unsure what, if any, punishment awaits him.
Pouncey, the only player admonished by NFL investigator Ted Wells still with the Dolphins, apparently has not yet undergone the mental health evaluation that the NFL said he must before suiting up for the Dolphins.
However, Pouncey and former teammate John Jerry — now with the Giants — “are on the field and they can be active right now,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday. Richie Incognito, the other Dolphin lineman whom Ted Wells said harassed Jonathan Martin, has not signed with another team and remains a free agent.
“I did indicate that they would go through evaluations – and they will,” Goodell said. “But we are not going to get into announcements on that. Those are confidential matters and they will be handled appropriately.”
At last month’s NFL owners’ meetings, Goodell announced that a medical screening will be a prerequisite for Pouncey, Incognito and Jerry to return to action. But even a clean bill of health won’t guarantee they avoid a suspension.
Wells wrote in his Feb. 14 report that he did not believe Pouncey was truthful in some of his conversations with investigators. NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said in March that “you have to” take that into account when deciding on punishment.
A league spokesman said Thursday that a decision still has not been made on potential discipline for the three players.
Despite the episode, Pouncey remains a valued member of the organization and a team leader. And yet, as of late Thursday afternoon, the team had not yet picked up the option on the fifth year of his rookie contract, according to the NFL Players Association website.
The Dolphins have until May 3 to do so, or Pouncey will be on the final year of his deal this season.
Meanwhile, it’s looking more and more unlikely that the league will create a new, sweeping code of conduct.
When Goodell was asked about the timetable for new workplace policies Thursday, he responded:
“We announced our workplace policies over the past several years,” Goodell said. “We have made those public and we will make those public to you now. We have those.”
When asked for clarity, a league representative provided a memo sent to teams in April of 2013 that reiterated the preexisting sexual orientation anti-discrimination and harassment policy guidelines.
The NFL spokesman also highlighted a section of the league’s 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, explicitly forbidding any harassment or discrimination based on race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.
“Some positive things are happening,” Goodell said. “We have some very good steps that are being taken to train our personnel to make sure our policies are modified to ensure we are doing the best possible job for everybody in a professional environment. I am pleased at the way we have corrected it.”