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Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Have escalating salaries led to poor conduct?

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

So has the Plaxico Burress incident taught us anything about player conduct in the NFL? Do we expect things to get worse before they improve?

My colleague Jeff Chadiha took a look at those issues in a column for ESPN.com on Tuesday. He talked to current players and at least one personnel director who indicated that the larger guarantees that are showing up in contracts may be contributing to the type of behavior we're seeing from a handful of players across the league. And they also suggested that the poor conduct of a few players could end up affecting the contracts of others.

"I do think you'll find more teams who will have a harder time giving a guy that big payday when it comes time to re-sign," Chiefs offensive lineman Brian Waters told Chadiha. "They're going to be wondering more about what that guy will do when he gets paid. Instead of the negotiations being about numbers or what he's meant to the team, it will be about whether he's a good investment."

I also find it fascinating that Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards began a recent film session by showing footage of Burress turning himself in to New York police. I'm sure that makes Giants general manager Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin cringe to know one of their star players is being used as a teaching tool for what not to do. But kudos to Edwards for being proactive. Too many people in the NFL just sit around and say, "I'm glad that's not me." More people need to be taking steps to prevent these things from happening. And that might include being better stewards of their money.