Lynch expects suspension
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch expects to be suspended by the NFL for his latest run-in with the law and added he's gotten the message that the league "won't tolerate any more screw-ups" from him.
Delivering a message of humility and repentance -- and minus the flashy gold grill he usually wears across his teeth -- Lynch vowed Wednesday that he's ready to change his ways and prepared to accept the consequences for his actions.
"It has kind of sunk in, and I felt that this was the next step to letting you guys know that there will be a change," Lynch said. "I never had the intention of getting into trouble or anything like that. But along the way my road got rocky, and now you know it's time to set my pavement straight."
The former first-round draft pick out of California held a nine-minute news conference in the Bills practice facility a day after meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in New York. The meeting was part of Goodell's review into whether to discipline Lynch for violating the league's personal conduct policy after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge in Los Angeles earlier this month.
Lynch characterized the meeting with Goodell as a wake-up call and said the commissioner's message has sunk in.
"Something that he stressed throughout the meeting was that he will not tolerate any more screw-ups by me," Lynch said, noting he expects to be suspended for the start of the regular season because this is the second time he's gotten in trouble with authorities.
"I honestly see a suspension coming, but that comes with the consequences," Lynch said.
He expects a ruling to be made within 10 days.
Lynch was arrested near Los Angeles on Feb. 11. In searching a parked car carrying Lynch, Culver City police found a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun inside a backpack in the trunk. Police also found four marijuana cigarettes in the car, but no drug charges were filed.
He pleaded guilty to having a concealed firearm and was sentenced to 80 hours community service and three years' probation.
It was Lynch's second run-in with the law in less than a year.
In June, he pleaded guilty to a traffic violation and admitted he was behind the wheel of his SUV when it sped off from a downtown Buffalo intersection after striking a pedestrian, who sustained minor injuries. Lynch wasn't disciplined by the league for the accident.
"The first time was pretty much like a slap on the wrist," he said. "I feel this time it really will stick."
Aware that people might be skeptical, Lynch said the only way to prove himself is through his actions.
"I can only show you. It won't be nothing that I can say in words that'll make you out a believer," Lynch said. "You're just going to have to see for yourself."
Lynch's willingness to speak to reporters was already considered a big change in attitude. Last season, he made himself available to the media only twice, once abruptly ending a news conference and walking away after being asked about the hit-and-run accident.
Lynch was unhappy with how he was portrayed in the media following the accident. His image, though, did take a hit when he invoked his legal right by refusing to speak to authorities for two weeks until Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark issued subpoenas against Bills players and staff.
On Wednesday, Lynch described his decision to delay meeting with authorities as a mistake and said it was a reason why he prompted the meeting with Goodell.
"I know pretty much that there will be some people looking forward to me messing up again," he said. "But I'm just going to let them know they shouldn't hold their breath."
Should Lynch be suspended, the Bills will be minus the player who's led them in rushing and touchdowns over the past two seasons. Last year, he had eight touchdowns and 1,036 yards on the ground, enough to make his first Pro Bowl appearance as an injury replacement.
The Bills have a solid backup in Fred Jackson, though the team has interviewed several veteran free-gent running backs over the past three weeks.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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