NFL Suspends Stallworth for One Year

The Cleveland Browns wide receiver can return to league in 2010

Donte Stallworth will have a year to get ready for a possible return to the NFL after the league suspended him without pay for the entire 2009 season today.

The Cleveland Browns wide receiver will be reinstated after the Super Bowl, and will still be under contract by the team under the terms of his 7-year, $35 million 2008 deal.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that Stallworth had done significant damage to the league.

"Your conduct endangered yourself and others, leading to the death of an innocent man," Goodell wrote. "The NFL and NFL players must live with the stain that you have placed on their reputations."

The 28-year-old star had been suspended indefinitely by the league after he struck and killed 59-year-old construction worker Mario Reyes with his Bentley after a night of clubbing in Miami Beach in the early hours of March 14.

The NFLer had a blood alcohol level of .126 when the accident occurred, well over the legal limit of .08, and tested positive for marijuana in his system.

Stallworth had met with Goodell in New York earlier this month to plead his case and try to get reinstated into the league, but the decision didn't come down until today.

Stallworth served 24 days of a 30-day sentence under his DUI manslaughter plea deal, getting out of jail in July. Under the terms of the deal, Stallworth will be on probation for 10 years, including a two-year house arrest he began serving when he was released in July. The NFLer will also have to perform 1,000 hours of community service and will never be able to drive again under the deal.

Earlier this week, Stallworth's deal was modified to allow him to practice with a trainer while under house arrest.

If Stallworth does make his way back to the NFL, it's unclear how he'll be able to travel with a team, because his house arrest would overlap with next year's NFL reinstatement.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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