The proverbial guinea pig of Roger Goodell's "personal-conduct policy," the Pro Bowl cornerback/return man was suspended for an entire season on April 10, 2007 after a series of arrests and controversial incidents, including a connection to a strip club shooting that left a man paralyzed. Jones returned to the sidelines in Dallas in 2008, but was again suspended this time for four games after an altercation with a team bodyguard who was ironically assigned to keep the CB out of trouble.
The Bengals wide receiver joined Pacman Jones as the first punished by Goodell. Henry was suspended for the first eight games of the 2007 season because of a string of incidents most involving alcohol, drugs and police that dated back to 2005. Despite serving time away from football, Henry was arrested the next April for allegedly punching a man and was cut by the Bengals the next day although the team brought him back four months later during the preseason.
On June 10, 2007, Goodell came down on the ex-Bears defensive tackle by suspending Johnson for the first eight games of the '07 season because of several legal issues, mainly involving unlicensed firearms. Two weeks later, the Bears finally reached the end of their rope when Johnson was pulled over for speeding and originally suspected of driving while impaired, though no charges were filed. Dallas picked him up early in the '08 season, but Johnson was still forced to miss his first eight games and he did not play until week 11.
Michael Vick went from superstar quarterback to league pariah after word of his dogfighting operation began leaking out in 2007, and the QB did nothing to help his cause when he repeatedly lied to both Falcons owner Arthur Blank and NFL commissioner Goodell. The result: Goodell's first indefinite suspension even though Vick was a first-time offender under the conduct policy. The reasons were many: gambling, cruelty to animals, criminal behavior. Even now with Vick finally released from prison, Goodell's current suspension allows for a conditional return to the field by Week 6 of the 2009 season.
Showing that coaches were not immune to his conduct policy, the Cowboys' quarterbacks coach was suspended by Goodell in September 2007 for five games and fined $100,000 for the purchase and use of performance-enhancing drugs. Wilson argued that he used HGH to assist with his diabetes, but Goodell disputed Wilson's claim.
The Patriots' former safety was suspended for the first four games of 2007 after admitting he knowingly purchased and used HGH. While he said publicly he used it only to help recover from an injury, he was not spared by Goodell.
The controversy that clouded the entire 2007 season was the Patriots' "Spygate." After his coaching staff was caught trying to videotape Jets coaching signals in an early season game, Goodell fined Patriots head coach Bill Belichick $500,000 and penalized the Pats with the loss of a 2008 first-round pick. While Goodell faced pressure on both sides of the issue to punish harshly or go lenient on a rule several teams were thought to have broken for years the commissioner decided against a Belichick suspension.
Following the death of a pedestrian struck by Donte' Stallworth's car this past March, Goodell has announced a one-year suspension of the Browns WR without pay. Stallworth began his 30-day jail sentence in mid-June after a plea agreement on DUI manslaughter charges, with an additional two years of house arrest.