Black and Blue all over: Barnett escapes suspension

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
For most of this summer, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Green Bay Packers linebacker Nick Barnett was facing a one-game NFL suspension -- likely the season-opener against the Minnesota Vikings -- for his role in a 2007 incident at an Appleton, Wis., bar.

Barnett, however, appealed the ruling, and the NFL informed him Wednesday that it had reduced the punishment to one game check for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Barnett will pay $155,882, but the Packers will not be faced with opening the season without their middle linebacker.

"I know the rules they set," Barnett told the Journal Sentinel. "Now we move on, and I play [in the opener], and my pocket's a little lighter. But I still get to play."

There has been some concern about the NFL's appeals process under the personal conduct policy, mostly because the same person who levies the punishment -- commissioner Roger Goodell -- ultimately has responsibility for the appeal as well. But in this situation, Barnett's legal case reflected an apparently small role in the incident: He had two charges of disorderly conduct reduced to one minor violation.

The NFL reacted accordingly.

Moving around the NFC North as preseason week No. 3 officially begins:

  • Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette blames "Brett Favre separation anxiety" for the summer's small crowds at Packers training camp.

  • The Chicago Bears will play most of their starters into the third quarter Thursday night against San Francisco. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times wonders what it would happen if a Bears castoff -- 49ers starter J.T. O'Sullivan -- outshines newly-named Bears starter Kyle Orton.

  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune asks: "Will somebody on offense besides [third-string quarterback] Caleb Hanie do something worth bringing up on the drive home after the game?"

  • Detroit Lions receiver Roy Williams on perceived jealousy issues with teammate Calvin Johnson: "As long as we win, I swear to God, that's all that I care about, is winning. If I don't get the ball, then that's fine. If we lose and I don't get the ball, then that's a problem."

  • Veteran Artose Pinner has made a late push to make the Lions roster.

  • Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on quarterback Tarvaris Jackson's sprained knee: "He has a legitimate injury. He's pushing hard to get back."