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Wednesday, October 4, 2006
NFLPA won't appeal Haynesworth's suspension

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The NFL Players Association will not appeal Albert Haynesworth's five-game suspension for stomping on the head of Dallas center Andre Gurode.

Not the first time for Haynesworth
Justin Hartwig saw the replay of Albert Haynesworth kicking a player in the head and wasn't surprised.

For good reason: The Carolina Panthers' center was a victim of Haynesworth's temper three years ago.

In 2003, when Hartwig played with the Titans, he saw Haynesworth's temper up close.

"It was the first couple of days of training camp I had been beating him in one-on-one drills. I had stopped him in a bull-rush pass rush drill. When he let up I dropped to my knees and he kicked me in the chest," Hartwig said. "I grabbed his foot when he kicked me, and another offensive lineman came in and cleaned him out.

"You don't disrespect another player or a teammate like that."

Hartwig stressed it was not an isolated incident and he never got along with Haynesworth while he was in Tennessee.

To see Haynesworth kicking Hartwig, click here ESPN Video

The Tennessee Titans defensive tackle was suspended Monday for kicking Gurode in the head twice in Sunday's 45-14 victory by the Cowboys. The unprecedented suspension is more than twice the previous longest, a two-game suspension for Green Bay's Charles Martin in 1986.

Haynesworth announced through his agent on Tuesday that he would not appeal the suspension. NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw discussed the suspension with Haynesworth and others, including NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

"We represent both players here, and it is best for all concerned that we let the suspension stand," Upshaw said Wednesday. "While Roger has expressed a willingness to meet with Haynesworth and I expect that meeting to take place, there will be no formal hearing where the suspension will be challenged."

That leaves the next move to Gurode, who still has the option of filing criminal charges or a civil lawsuit. His agent Kennard McGuire said Monday that Gurode would talk with his family before deciding what to do. But Gurode was not in the Cowboys' locker room when reporters were allowed in, and McGuire did not return a message left by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Gurode did not practice Wednesday. Dallas coach Bill Parcells said he expects his center can practice Thursday. The coach did not think Gurode was having vision problems and could wear a helmet despite the cuts on his forehead.

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"I think he can, yeah. I think he'll go tomorrow," Parcells said.

Haynesworth also hasn't spoken publicly since he told reporters after Sunday's game that he was disgusted by his act of kicking Gurode's face with his cleated shoe, leaving seven cuts needing 30 stitches.

But the defensive tackle has scheduled a news conference for Thursday at a Nashville hotel.

"He's going to explain where he is in all of this and talk about the suspension and his actions he's taking going forward," said Kathleen Hessert, a media consultant working with Haynesworth and his agent.

The Titans have learned that they will not be allowed any contact with Haynesworth during the suspension, which includes their bye week on Oct. 22. He cannot return to the team until after they play the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 12.

Asked Wednesday if he worries what Haynesworth will do during the suspension, Titans coach Jeff Fisher said no.

"This is all his responsibility. He's got to take care of himself right now," Fisher said.