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Flash In The Pan: The Donte Stallworth Saga Must End

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IJune 28, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 7:   Donte Stallworth #18 of the Cleveland Browns carries the ball during the game against the Tennessee Titans on December 7, 2008 at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Earlier this month, Browns WR Donte Stallworth was suspended indefinitely by commissioner Roger Goodell after the former's guilty plea of DUI Manslaughter of Mario Reyes while driving above the legal alcohol limit.

Stallworth submitted his guilty plea and was sentenced to only 30 days in a Miami prison. Along with that he received eight years probation, a sentence considered by many to be extremely lenient.

In 2008, he signed a seven-year, $35 million contract with the Browns hoping to add to their once-potent offense. He disappointed with only 17 receptions and one touchdown on the season.

Stallworth is the second player to be suspended indefinitely along with former QB Michael Vick. Unlike Vick, he will not serve his full suspension in prison.

In the eyes of the new Browns' regime, there is no room for troublemakers. Therefore, it should be fitting that the Browns cut all ties to Stallworth before he becomes a distraction to the organization.

There is a very good chance that Stallworth will not suit up for the Browns again, as now there is simply no room left on the roster.

Coach Eric Mangini and GM George Kokinis had already prepared for the future by drafting WRs Brian Robiskie and Mohammed Massaquoi in the draft and signing FAs Mike Furrey and David Patten.

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Clearly, they had prepared for the departures of Joe Jurevicius and Kellen Winslow II, but also for the eventual suspension of Stallworth.

But regardless of his legal situation or the fact that he was very ineffective for any number of reasons, the Browns have to either now or eventually cut him loose.

Although he will have many years left on his contract, it might very well be the best thing for the franchise.

Stallworth's crime is on the same level as Vick's was two years ago, although Vick did have more jail time than Stallworth will.

Vick was recently cut from the Atlanta Falcons despite being on their roster during his suspension.

For the sake of reputation, Cleveland management should consider eliminating all connections with the troubled receiver despite taking on salary cap implications.

Financially it might not be the smartest thing to do, but morally there's no better option.

It is unfortunate that Stallworth's career has been injury prone and incapable of living up to full expectations. But, maybe what could've saved his reputation was staying clean and being a good samaritan in the community.

Instead, he was in a substance abuse program prior to his tenure with the Browns.

His inability to stay clean was inevitably the downfall of his career with the recent DUI manslaughter of Mario Reyes in Miami just this March.

Therefore, Browns management needs to make a zero-tolerance statement by cutting Stallworth loose. They may not have been the most successful franchise, but at least they have a chance to save face getting rid of a big mistake.

Below are some stories detailing the Stallworth incident from conviction to plea bargain to suspension in order:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=4033632

http://www.cleveland.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/national-10/1245186213303040.xml&storylist=national

http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2009/06/nfl_suspends_cleveland_browns.html

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