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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets running back Mike Goodson, arrested in May for allegedly possessing a semi-automatic handgun and marijuana, received a four-game league suspension Monday for violating the NFL's policy and program for substances of abuse.
The news came on the day when Goodson returned to the team after missing training camp due to an undisclosed personal matter. He was placed on the active non-football injury/illness list.
Goodson won't be paid during his suspension, which will cost him about $235,000 in base salary. By league rule, he can't practice or play, but he's allowed to attend team meetings and train on an individual basis. He can resume normal duties Sept. 30, the day the Jets face the Tennessee Titans.
Goodson's criminal case has yet to be adjudicated. In June, it was sent to a grand jury in Morris County, New Jersey.
At the time of the arrest, he was so intoxicated that he was taken to a nearby hospital, according to police reports. He was the passenger in a vehicle that was stopped in the middle of Interstate 80 in New Jersey. Police say he was incoherent and had vomited on himself.
Goodson returned briefly to the Jets' offseason program, practicing during organized team activities. He never made it to training camp. Team officials have been tight-lipped as to his whereabouts.
"I've been away from the team to take care of some important personal things," Goodson said in a statement. "The time was helpful to me and now that I am back, I am going to do everything I can to contribute to the team. I appreciate all of the support from the Jets organization and I'm thankful to be back with my teammates."
Goodson's job was thought to be in immediate danger, but the organization has stood by him. In March, he signed a three-year, $6.9 million contract, including a $1 million signing bonus -- the first free-agent signing for new general manager John Idzik.
The Jets released a statement, saying Goodson returned to the team "after taking time away to focus on a personal matter. While we welcome Mike back to the organization, we have had direct conversations to make our expectations very clear as we work together to help him move forward in a positive manner, both on and off the field."
When he was arrested, Goodson was found carrying a small amount of marijuana, while there was additional marijuana and a loaded .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun in the car. The 25-year-old Goodson was charged with possession of marijuana less than 50 grams, possession of paraphernalia, unlawful possession of a loaded handgun and possession of hollow-point bullets.
The Jets came under heavy criticism for signing Goodson, who encountered legal issues in his previous NFL stops with the Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders.
An ESPNNewYork.com report revealed that he was sued for paternity and child support by three women from August 2010 to May 2011. He has fathered at least six children with those women, one of whom he lived with for two years, records show.
In addition, Goodson didn't pay a $56,465 bill at a Houston-area jewelry store. The store sued him, and after interest and fees, he ended up paying $84,423.44. The amount was garnished from his Raiders paychecks, according to records in Texas and California.
Earlier, while with the Panthers, Goodson was sued three times by two apartment complexes in the Charlotte area, which demanded unpaid rent -- ranging from $1,413 to $2,744, records show. In the two of the suits, records show he received eviction notices.
Jets owner Woody Johnson, speaking to reporters in June, said the team was willing to give Goodson a fair shake.
"We're trying to win games and do the right thing," he said. "Truth, justice and the American way."
If Goodson pleads guilty or is convicted of unlawful possession of a handgun, he will face a mandatory minimum sentence of three years. His lawyer has said the gun didn't belong to Goodson.