Chicago Bears cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. was suspended one game by the NFL on Wednesday for a violation of the league's personal conduct policy. The sanction stems from Manning's "no contest" plea in September to a felony arrest charge brought against him this spring.
Manning, who is one of the NFL's top nickel defenders and leads the Bears in interceptions with four, will serve the suspension this Sunday, meaning he will miss the matchup against the New England Patriots. League sources and sources close to Manning said he will not appeal the sanction.
Manning met last month with league officials in New York, during the Bears' bye week, to discuss the case. Chicago officials privately acknowledged they expected the suspension but were not certain when the NFL would take action.
"I just want them to hear my side of what happened," Manning said after his meeting with NFL officials. "No matter who else represents me, the bottom line is, the only one who was there was me."
The suspension will cost Manning one game check, or $93,235, based on his 2006 base salary of $1.585 million. The suspension, league officials confirmed, carries no further fines.
It is not yet certain who will replace Manning on Sunday as the Bears' nickel back.
Manning, 26, in September pleaded no contest to a felony assault charge stemming from an incident this spring in which a man was beaten outside a Denny's restaurant in Los Angeles. The victim, Soroush Sabzi, recently claimed that Manning used racial slurs in confronting him.
A fourth-year veteran, Manning was sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service and one year of anger management counseling.
Manning said in September that he entered the plea in an effort to put the much-publicized incident behind him and move on with the season. He emphasized at the time that he was not conceding guilt in the matter. But the plea made him subject to the NFL's personal conduct policy, and NFL officials took several weeks to investigate the incident and then deliberate over appropriate action.
Manning was signed by the Bears as a restricted free agent this spring, as the Carolina Panthers declined to match a five-year contract that could be worth up to $21 million. A third-round choice in the 2003 draft, the former UCLA star has 30 tackles and three passes defensed and re-established himself as one of the premier nickel cornerbacks in the league.
For his career, Manning has appeared in 58 regular-season games and has 194 tackles, 13 interceptions, 16 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and four recoveries.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.