By pleading guilty to alcohol-related reckless driving at a time when he was facing DUI charges, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch avoided more stringent potential sanctions under the criminal justice system.
But Lynch now risks an enhanced sanction under league rules.
If Lynch had pleaded guilty to or been convicted of DUI, he would have faced the loss of two game checks under the substance-abuse policy. By pleading guilty to a different charge, the outcome possibly will fall under the personal-conduct policy. Given Lynch’s history of violations (which resulted in a three-game suspension to start the 2009 season), another violation of the personal-conduct policy could trigger another suspension.
The specific reference to alcohol in the plea to reckless driving undoubtedly was intended to guide the case toward the substance-abuse policy. Per a league source, that’s the likely outcome — pending a full review of the case file by the league office.
Whether and to what extent the NFL ultimately decides to categorize this infraction under the personal-conduct policy could go a long way toward determining whether Lynch will be available when the Seahawks launch their defense of the Super Bowl XLVIII crown in September. For now, it appears that Lynch will avoid a suspension.