Henry waiting for Goodell

Posted: 12:40 p.m.

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Henry

Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry cleared up his final legal matters Thursday in jail, but it still could cost him the second NFL suspension of his star-crossed career at the hands of a commissioner that has already singled out the Bengals for their off-field problems.

But the club and the people around Henry hope Thursday's flurry of activity that ended Henry's dizzying legal problems marks a new period in his life.

"He understands he has to take life a lot more seriously now. He's had to grow up and he knows that," said Marvin Frazier, one of Henry's agents. "Hopefully the commissioner will see that he's already paid a high price and that he's done what he's had to do. We're looking at a brief stretch of time in which he made several bad decisions and he wants to get on with his life the right way."

Henry's problems began late in his rookie year with the first of his four arrests on Dec. 15, 2005 for possession of marijuana, and went on to include a felony gun charge and a two-game suspension from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

According to NFL policy governing the use alcohol and personal conduct, Goodell has the right to suspend Henry again in the wake of the two final cases resolved Thursday.

According to The Associated Press, Kenton County District Judge Greg Grothaus sentenced Henry to 90 days in jail and suspended all but two days by ordering Henry to begin serving them immediately for allowing minors to drink alcohol in his Northern Kentucky hotel room late last April.

Also Thursday, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Henry avoided a possible drunken-driving conviction stemming from his last arrest by pleading guilty to a lesser charge of reckless operation of a car in Clermont County on June 3.

The newspaper reported that while he was sentenced to the maximum 30 days in jail, that sentence was suspended and Henry can remain free as long as he complies with court conditions.

"It's good that Chris's cases have been resolved," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said in a press release. "Now he must continue to strive to mature and grow both as a player and as a person."

Lewis has also disciplined Henry, sitting him down for the AFC North clincher in Detroit following the first arrest, and then sitting him down again this season against the Patriots for riding with linebacker Odell Thurman when he was arrested for DUI Sept. 25, 2006.

"He's missed games and he's been fined severely," said Frazier, who indicated Henry has been fined more than $50,000.

Goodell could choose to suspend Henry in the light of Thursday's decisions because NFL alcohol policy says, "The Commissioner will review and may impose a fine, suspension, or other appropriate discipline if a player is convicted of or admits to a violation of the law relating to the use of alcohol.

"If (the player) has had prior drug or alcohol-related misconduct, increased discipline up to and including suspension may be imposed. Discipline for a second or subsequent offense is likely to be a suspension, the duration of which may escalate for repeat offense."

Goodell also has the same rights under the player conduct policy:

"Any (player) convicted of or admitting to a criminal violation (including a plea to a lesser included offense) ... will be subject to discipline as determined by the Commissioner. ... Any (player) convicted of or admitting to a second criminal violation will be suspended without pay or banished for a period of time to be determined by the Commissioner."

Since Goodell suspended Henry two games following his plea after an incident in which he waved a gun at people on a Florida street, the speculation is if there is a suspension now it won't be as long because the charges aren't as serious. Or, it may be as long or longer because it's multiple offenses.

Either way, he may miss the opener or more.

It's up to Goodell, who said late last season that he talked to Bengals president Mike Brown about the team's spate of arrests.

Although Henry missed three games this year, he scored nine touchdowns and has 15 in two seasons.

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