Titan sits 5 games for head stomp
Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was suspended five games Monday for stomping on the head of a helmetless player.
Haynesworth, 25, is eligible to return Nov. 19.
"There is absolutely no place in the game, or anywhere else, for the inexcusable action that occurred," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
It is the longest suspension for an on-field incident in NFL history, more than double the two-game suspension that Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Charles Martin received for body-slamming Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon to the turf on Nov. 23, 1986.
"What the league has done right now is adequate," Titans head coach Jeff Fisher said. "Five games and five paycheques is substantial.
"This is an unprecedented suspension. But I feel like his actions on the field were also unprecedented."
Haynesworth was penalized and ejected for the infraction, which occurred early in the third quarter of Sunday's 45-14 loss to the Cowboys.
When Dallas scored a touchdown on a five-yard dash by tailback Julius Jones, Haynesworth took his frustrations out on Cowboys centre Andre Gurode by kicking him twice in the head.
Gurode, who was lying prone on the field and had lost his helmet on the play, needed stitches to close gashes on his forehead and left cheek.
"In all my years of football, this has never happened to me," he said. "I've never been kicked in the face like this and I've never seen anybody kick nobody else in the face."
"What I did out there was disgusting," a remorseful Haynesworth told reporters afterward.
"The way I feel right now, you just cannot describe it."
History of misconduct
Haynesworth has a history of questionable conduct since being drafted by the Titans, from fighting with two teammates in 2002 to punching offensive lineman Matt Martin and kicking centre Justin Hartwig in the chest in 2003.
He also scuffled with Jacksonville Jaguars safety Deon Grant, a former college teammate, following a 31-28 loss last Nov. 20.
"I'm shocked and appalled for this [Sunday's incident] to take place, regardless whether there have been behavioural issues in the past or not," Fisher said. "To me, there's no place for this type of condition on the field."
Haynesworth is a five-year pro who has amassed 158 tackles, 8Â½ sacks and two fumble recoveries in 56 NFL games (42 starts) since being drafted 15th overall by Tennessee in 2002.
With files from the Associated Press