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Three misdemeanors won't get Lynch off NFL hook

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
What's worse? One felony charge or three misdemeanors?

The answer might matter only on Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch's police record.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, on the other hand, could handle Lynch's punishment the same way regardless of the charges.

Buffalo's NBC affiliate, WGRZ, is reporting the Los Angeles County district attorney's office likely will charge Lynch not for felony possession of a loaded firearm in public, but for three related misdemeanors.

Lynch was arrested Feb. 11 in Culver City, Calif. Police approached Lynch and two other males in a suspiciously parked 2006 Mercedes-Benz. The officers reportedly smelled marijuana and performed a search of the vehicle. They claimed to find four marijuana-filled cigars and a loaded gun they determined was Lynch's.

WGRZ quoted Culver City Detective Ryan Thompson as saying the district attorney's office would file three misdemeanor charges rather than the single felony Lynch was arrested for. Thompson declined to outline the specific charges.

But in the eyes of Goodell, the final charges might be six of one, half-dozen of another.

The fact that Lynch put himself in this ridiculous position and the NFL in a negative light won't sit well with the commish.

As we've rehashed in this blog several times over the past few days, Lynch was involved in a controversial hit-and-run investigation last June in Buffalo. He eventually admitted to being behind the wheel when his Porsche Cayenne struck a woman and sped off. He pleaded down to a $100 fine, an outrage for many Buffalonians.

Goodell declined to levy any additional punishment at the time.

This is how he explained that decision while visiting Bills training camp at St. John Fisher College in July:

I spoke to Marshawn this morning. I met with Marshawn, and he understands his responsibilities as an NFL player. I think the facts are clear on the case at this point in time, and I don't plan on any discipline.

He understands the responsibility. He understands what it means to be an NFL player and how he has to represent himself, his teammates and the Buffalo Bills. He knows how important that is.

[No additional punishment was meted out] because it was reduced to a traffic violation, and I think when you look at the facts and understand exactly what happened after some of the initial reports, I think that it's not a violation of our personal-conduct policy. On the other hand, Marshawn understands that these things are important to the league and that he will avoid those types of situations in the future.

It doesn't sound like Lynch honored the commissioner's wishes inferred in that last sentence.