Stallworth May Still Get Bonus Money

donte-stallworth-catchWho would have thought that Plaxico Burress could have such an impact on the Cleveland Browns?

First, there has been the incessant rumors that have Braylon Edwards linked to the Giants via trade.  Then, the Giants go and release Burress, he of the self-inflicted gun shot would and the basis behind the song Da*n, these sweatpants make a bad holster.  Now, he may have an even larger impact as he has recently won a suit over his former team that allows him to keep his bonus money that was temporarily taken away after the gun shot incident.

And if you’re asking how the Giants v. Burress case impacts the Browns, look no further than the bonus that is due to wide receiver Donte Stallworth.  The day prior to the accident that left a man dead on a Miami, Florida causeway, Stallworth was due $4.5 million. 

And when it comes to the legal side of things, PFT has the following:

But we’re told that the check isn’t actually due to be paid until May 2009. […]

Though there’s an open question as to whether the forfeiture language also applies to a guy who doesn’t show up because he’s in jail, it would seem to be fairly easy to delay the ultimate prosecution of Stallworth until after the 2009 football season ends.

And given that the signing bonus forfeiture language applies only to signing bonuses and not to roster bonuses and given that Stallworth was on the roster the day the payment came due, it suddenly got even harder for the Browns to justify stiffing Stallworth based on the same reasoning that supports a forfeiture of previously-paid signing bonus money.

Given that money is not exactly growing on trees in Berea, Ohio these days, it was assumed by many that the team was going to use the DUI manslaughter charges to recoup most (if not all) of the bonus money.  But thanks to the legal system, it appears that they may have their work cut out for them.

The results of the Burress suit will likely lead to a number of cases like this, where teams punish players for off-field issues and are ultiamtely found to be “excessive.”  However, one has to think that when someone loses a life and it is found that the player is responisble for said loss, that no punishment could be deemed over the top. 

As with most things Cleveland Browns, I have a feeling that this one is far from over…

  • Swig

    There are really only two acceptable solutions IMO (I’ve mentioned before).

    1) Stallworth donates entire bonus to some saftey awareness program
    2) Stallworth voluntarily returns the money to the Browns, and they donate at least 1/2 of it to some saftey awareness program

    There is at least one lesson to be learned here

  • Clown Baby

    Or all of it goes to the victims family……..

  • mike

    i have a feeling all of it WILL end up going to the victim’s family, whether donte likes it or not.