Some of you have suggested that the Denver Broncos should take a page from the Jon Gruden/Andy Reid playbook and send disgruntled receiver Brandon Marshall home, with pay.
Gruden did just that with receiver Keyshawn Johnson during the 2003 season, giving Keyshawn an extended vacation after repeated clashes between player and coach.
Two years later, the Eagles followed a four-game unpaid suspension of receiver Terrell Owens with a suspension for the rest of the year, with pay.
Though Keyshawn didn’t fight his paid vacation, the grievance filed by Owens included an attempt to force the Eagles either to let Owens back in the building or cut him loose.
The effort failed.
And so, when it was time to work out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement after the 2005 season, the NFL Players Association slipped into the new deal language prohibiting teams from sending players home with pay.
Here’s the relevant language from the provision in the current labor contract permitting maximum discipline of a four-game suspension without pay: “This maximum applies without limitation to any deactivation of a player in response to player conduct (other than a deactivation in response to a player’s on-field playing ability), and any such deactivation, even with pay, shall be considered discipline subject to the limits set forth in this section. The Non-Injury Grievance Arbitrator’s decision in Terrell Owens (Nov. 23, 2005) is thus expressly overruled as to any Club decision to deactivate a player in response to the player’s conduct.”
So while the Broncos can sit Marshall down for maximum suspensions of four games at a time in response to conduct detrimental to the team, the Broncos cannot pay him to stay out of their hair.