Recent off-the-field trouble for Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward and Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones could present a pair of interesting cases for the NFL. Both players were arrested over the weekend in separate incidents.
But the NFL is in the midst of the lockout where the league's collective bargaining agreement and personal conduct policies are not active. Still, commissioner Roger Goodell said the league plans to hold players accountable for getting in trouble this offseason, and it's unknown if this is something the players' union would care to contest.
But it appears Ward and Jones have the potential to land in hot water this summer. Still, both players find themselves in different spots.
This is the first brush with the law for Ward, who was arrested and charged with driving under the influence early Saturday in Georgia. Ward's clean record helps his case tremendously, and it's rare that the league comes down hard on first-time offenders. Therefore, it would be surprising if Ward is forced to miss any games.
Jones, on the other hand, could be in big trouble if found guilty of disorderly conduct. He was already suspended by the NFL for the entire 2007 season and part of the 2008 season for prior incidents. Jones also has been arrested six times the past several years and is down to his last strike. Another conviction could lead to the end of Jones' career in the NFL.
Another interesting wrinkle is Ward and Jones believe they were not in the wrong. It could take a while for all the details to be released in both cases. So this may not be settled overnight.