Updated: 3-26-07, 5:20 a.m.
PHOENIX, Ariz. — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to outline his new player conduct policy to the owners this week at the league's annual meeting that got underway here this weekend at the Arizona Biltmore.
Although the policy won't be adopted and put in place immediately after Goodell discuses it publicly Tuesday, among the first expected to fall under what is believed to be harsher penalties are Titans cornerback "Pacman" Jones and Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry.
Goodell's rulings are expected before the April 28-29 NFL Draft and with everyone in and out of the NFL demanding something be done, Jones and Henry could get tougher punishments than ever doled out by the current guidelines. No one has ever been suspended for more than three games under the current plan.
What appears to be evolving is not so much a plan with specific guidelines, but a powerful endorsement by players and owners for the commissioner to dole out quicker and harsher penalties for repeat lawbreakers.
"That's fine with me," said Chiefs coach Herman Edwards, one of the more vocal coaches when it comes to a crackdown. "What happens to teams are, 'What are the guidelines?' Put them in the commissioner's lap and he's the one that understands. He has no competitive edge. It's only about the league and that's the way it should be."
In recognition of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Cincinnati franchise, the Pro Football Hall of Fame placed in the main hallway of the meetings two display cases with the club's memorabilia that included one of Paul Brown's signature hats.
Also in that case was a game ball from the first game played between the two teams he founded, Cleveland's 30-27 victory over Cincinnati on Oct. 11, 1970 in Cleveland. It's next to a ball signed by all the Bengals from their 58-48 victory over the Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on Nov. 28, 2004, the second highest-scoring game in NFL history.
Another display case houses quarterback Boomer Esiason's No. 7 jersey worn during his 1988 MVP season, as well as running back Corey Dillon's shoes from his then-NFL record 278 rushing yards against Denver on Oct. 22, 2000 at PBS. There is also a ticket stub from that 31-21 victory: Club West, Section 219, Row 19, Seat 11.
Joe Horrigan, the Hall's vice president of communications, also set up display cases from the Canton, Ohio museum for the Eagles and Steelers in honor of their 75th seasons. But he and the Hall have a special relationship with the Bengals because of Paul Brown's giant shadow in Ohio pro football and Mike Brown's interest in preserving the history of both clubs.
Mike Brown was the driving force behind the Hall's recent tribute of the integration of the NFL and the celebration of the career of Browns defensive end Bill Willis. When the exhibit came to Cincinnati's Freedom Center, it became one of Goodell's first major visits in his first month on the job.
"Mike has been a big help to us," Horrigan said Sunday. "One thing that gets forgotten is the impact of the league on the community and society and this is an example where we've been able to do that."
Goodell has appointed Brown to one of the owners' spots on the Hall's governing board of trustees, a rotating position that begins this August. He'll join the chairman, Pittsburgh's Dan Rooney, as well as others such as Denver's Pat Bowlen and Tennessee's Bud Adams.
Horrigan said Brown and the Hall recently collaborated on a labor in which some of the fruits may be soon seen in Canton. Brown invited Horrigan and his archivists to PBS during last season to pick through an office stuffed with Paul Brown's papers and keepsakes and the job was so big they ended up loading up a van and taking the treasure trove back to Canton for study.
The collection is to be catalogued and returned and Mike Brown figures to grant the Hall any wish it desires for display. He has already supplied playbooks and other items down through the years.
"There's a lot things there just about the history of the Brown family, such as the notes from his autobiography," said Horrigan of the 1979 book PB written with Jack Clary. "We mainly wanted to organize it for Mike and get a system down."
NO TRADE TALK: At least not publicly. With the Giants and Eagles supposedly on the verge of a trade for Buffalo linebacker Takeo Spikes, Bills general manager Marv Levy had no comment Sunday when asked if the Bengals had contacted his club.
"The situation is so delicate with Takeo Spikes, so we're not saying anything about it," Levy said.
Word early in the offseason was that Spikes wanted to return to the Bengals, the team that took him with its first pick in 1998 and where he played for five seasons. But his $4 million plus cap hit and some long memories about his rather high-profile departure seemed to have doused interest from the Bengals.