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League and Players want to address character problems

T.J. Houshmandzadeh was one of a handful of players that joined the Conduct Advisory Committee to discuss many issues, including the league's recent off-the-field conduct.

The league, in the infant stages of a having a very serious image problem, is working hard to address the problem. Not only are players getting arrested, but they are being arrested for outrageous things. Music City Miracles is providing updates and insight on the recent Pacman Jones issue. The dilemma the league is facing is how to prevent this potentially explosive image problem. One being thrown around is a three strikes and you're out policy. But what are the three strikes and how grievance would each have to be? Felony? Misdemeanor? Any guilty charge? Obviously a suggestion is a long way from policy. The era of Roger Goodell, unfortunately, will be monitored closely on how well he can lead the league from avoiding this image problem.

But it isn't just the league that's concerned. The players are speaking out about it now.

"What’s amazing about these guys that were here is that they are very, very concerned about all of this," Upshaw said. "They talked up, they spoke, they gave us all the information we need and now we just have to take it to the next level."

You have to believe that character issues must be addressed from ownership and coaches. There's always the debate: What's more important, character or talent? Will a team overlook talent because of character concerns? What about the awful teams that are in desperation for a winner and draft many character issues with incredible talent?

I know, why can't you have both? You can. At the same time, teams that need to rebuild quickly because of an embarrassing history of poor seasons, may think of character as a secondary concern. You can make the argument that's exactly what the Bengals did after their 2-14 season (2002). But that's not fair either. While we've picked up incredible talent with questions in their decision making, we've also picked up great community guys that honor their role model status.

The brainstorming session brought positive reviews from players and media. Many were impressed with Goodell and his genuine effort to listen to players. Hopefully, like T.J. says, something will come from this. Personally, I'd be more than happy to remove the legal section from this blog.

Bengals dine on power lunch [Bengals.com]
Players suggest 'three strikes' rule at meeting [ESPN]