Yesterday, the Seattle Seahawks received another blow to their defense, when the NFL upheld their indefinite suspension of outside linebacker Mychal Kendricks.
Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Mychal Kendricks was originally suspended by the NFL on September 13 for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The suspension was handed down as a result of his September 6, guilty plea on federal insider trading charges. Kendricks appealed the ruling, which was upheld by the league yesterday.
According to Jim Florio of NBC sports, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was confused by the terms of the suspension.
"“How do you define indefinitely? I don’t know. We pressed that. What does that mean? It means indefinitely. We don’t have a sense for what’s going to happen right now and they couldn’t give us any, so we know nothing moving forward,” he said.“A month ago, or when we signed him up, we thought that there would be a time when there would be somewhat of a length of the suspension that wasn’t indefinite,” Carroll continued. “I don’t know what that means. We thought it was going to be two, three weeks or something like that. I don’t know what’s happening now with that.”"
He should be confused, the suspension is obviously designed to keep Kendricks out of the league for a very long time. Players who commit violent crimes, such as assault, or domestic violence get a path back to the league, while white collar criminals do not.
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This is in no way meant to excuse or justify, Kendricks’ actions. He stole approximately $1.2M dollars. Kendricks also admitted his crime and has been contrite. There is no doubt the linebacker deserves some disciplinary action. Playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right.
Unfortunately, the league has absolutely no idea how to enforce any type of punitive action. When a player cheats the game by taking illegal performance enhancers, he’s out for four weeks. If another player repeatedly violates the league’s substance abuse policy and is “indefinitely suspended,” he still has a way back to the league. Apparently, if someone cheats the financial system, it’s borderline unforgivable.
Effect on Defense
Kendricks suspension puts the Seahawks in a very deep hole. K.J. Wright, who he was replacing, is still several weeks away from returning. Since he was signed in week three, Kendricks has done a great job of fitting in with Seattle’s defense. A trio of Wright, Bobby Wagner, and Kendricks could have been one of the best units in the league. Now the Seahawks will have to go with either Austin Calitro or Shaquem Griffin, neither of whom have much experience.
Kendricks absence is compounded by the loss of Earl Thomas last Sunday. That’s two All-Pro caliber defenders off of a unit that already had some issues. Calitro and Tedric Thompson are good backups but are not Kendricks and Thomas.
The Seahawks head to Los Angeles to face maybe the top offense in football. It was an extremely bad time for Seattle to lose such a valuable player.