Raiders Bush, Henderson could face suspensions

This morning, it was revealed that Raider offensive lineman Mario Henderson was arrested on gun charges. This comes just weeks after running back Michael Bush was arrested for driving while intoxicated. Both of the two players were up for free agency following last season and hoped to receive long term deals.

These incidents could cost both of them some money — not just in the free agent market but they could also be looking at suspensions.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told FOXSports.com on Thursday that the league plans to enforce its personal conduct policy even with players prohibited from reporting to team headquarters. Enacted by the league in 2007, the policy subjects players to fines and possible suspension at the discretion of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

“While players won’t be able to get the benefit of our evaluation and counseling program during the work stoppage, the personal conduct of players and employees is an integrity-of-the-game issue,” McCarthy wrote in an e-mail. “Any misconduct that is detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL will certainly be addressed when play resumes.”

In other words, “You may not live under our roof, but you still have to play by our rules.”

Bush was scheduled to become a restricted free agent and the Raiders used the very highest franchise tender to try to keep him with the team. But as any player will tell you, he would much prefer to sign a long term contract.

Bush would have certainly commanded top dollar had he been able to hit the free agent market. But first the Raiders ensured he wouldn’t. Then he had his DWI. It is hard to say how much it could cost him, but it certainly doesn’t help his cause.

Bush is seen as a starting caliber runner who would receive a lot of interest. Anyone who knows Al Davis realizes that an incident like this doesn’t affect his judgment of a player all that much. But it would turn away some teams or at very least lower the amount they offer to him.

Henderson’s situation is different but, depending on who you ask, is equally serious. He was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. He was also given a citation for not wearing a seat belt and playing his music too loud.

According to WBBH in Fort Myers, Florida, Henderson was pulled over when an officer claimed he could hear his music from a distance of over 150 feet, a violation of a city ordinance, according to police.

Another officer spotted the vehicle and ordered him to pull over. The officer noted the driver wasn’t wearing a seat belt and the tint on the car windows appeared to be darker than the legal limit, reports said.

When the officer spoke with Henderson, he asked if there were any weapons in the vehicle. Henderson said there was a gun in the glove compartment. As it turned out the gun was actually between the driver’s seat and the center console. A records check revealed Henderson did not have a concealed firearm permit. The officer informed Henderson he was under arrest.

Henderson has not received a tender like Bush, which means it remains to be seen if the Raiders will retain him. He was the starting left tackle for two seasons until he lost out to rookie Jared Veldheer six games into last season. It has been expected that he would move back to the right tackle position and compete with incumbent starter Langston Walker. Now he faces a possible suspension from the NFL for violating the conduct policy.

The mere fact that the Raiders have made no attempts to re-sign him could mean they are prepared to let him walk as a free agent. There was already a good chance the Raiders were looking at picking up a tackle in the draft. A suspension will make it less likely any team will be jumping at the chance to sign him.

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About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

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