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Historical perspective on Vilma suspension

5/2/2012

The season-long suspension of New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma pretty much is unprecedented in the NFL.

There have been plenty of one-year suspensions (and some longer) for substance-abuse violations. But Vilma’s suspension ranks as one of the longest in history.

With help from the Associated Press, by way of ESPN Stats & Information, here’s a list of the longest non-substance-abuse suspensions in NFL history:

  • Art Schlichter, Life, suspended 1 year for gambling in 1983, never reinstated

  • Merle Hapes, 8 years, suspended for conversing with known gambler in 1946, reinstated in 1954

  • Frank Filchock, 3 years, suspended for conversing with known gambler in 1947, reinstated in 1950

  • Michael Vick, 2 years, 2 games, suspended indefinitely in 2007 after pleading guilty to role in dogfighting

  • Plaxico Burress, 2 years, suspended for duration of jail term in 2009 after pleading guilty to criminal possession of a weapon

  • Donte’ Stallworth, 1 year, suspended for 1 year after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter in 2009

  • Paul Hornung, 1 year, suspended 1 year for gambling in 1963

  • Alex Karras, 1 year, suspended 1 year for gambling in 1963

  • Adam Jones, 1 year, suspended 1 year for violating Personal Conduct Policy in 2007

Those suspensions all involved off-field actions. Here is the list of the longest NFL suspensions for on-field incidents: