Tougher NFL discipline policy still not set, recent player arrest leads Goodell to announce completion date prior to April 2007 draft

PHOENIX – One day after yet another NFL player was arrested, commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday a stronger player conduct policy will not be completed at these league meetings.

By next month, however, Goodell expects to have in place the stricter plan and hopes to make some disciplinary decisions before the April 28-29 draft.

“It’s a complicated issue and there are no simple answers,” Goodell said, adding he planned to meet with coaches and owners in the next day or so to discuss player conduct. “We want to find out what is working well with the clubs and what is not working, get a set of best practices so they can implement them on a local basis.”

“We’re expecting discipline will be stepped up,” he added.

NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw has expressed his support of a tougher disciplinary policy.

Goodell listed educational programs as a key step, and wants players to become more familiar with local laws. In the past year, such players as cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones of Tennessee, with 10 separate encounters with the police, and DT Tank Johnson of Chicago, sentenced last week to four months in jail on weapons charges, have drawn headlines for their misconduct.

So did nine Cincinnati Bengals who got in trouble off the field. And on Sunday, Carolina Panthers reserve guard D’Anthony Batiste was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor.

“I’ve spoken to over 50 players on this issue, and they all believe leadership in mentoring younger players is important,” Goodell said. “That’s one of the things we’ll be encouraging. I’m supportive of creating a player advisory council that would give me some input, maybe even into individual cases.”

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