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NFL keeps silent on Lynch No comment during back's legal process

The National Football League, like the Buffalo Bills, is taking a wait-and-see approach to Marshawn Lynch's arrest on felony gun charges last Wednesday in Culver City, Calif., just outside of Los Angeles.

He was booked on possession of a concealed firearm and released on $35,000 bail.

"We are aware of it and we will monitor it," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday. He added that the league would not have a formal comment while the legal process is ongoing. But during his annual pre-Super Bowl state of the NFL news conference, Commissioner Roger Goodell suggested that the league might not wait for the legal process to conclude when it comes to repeat offenders.

In addition to the gun charge, Lynch was involved in a hit-and-run accident in Buffalo last May. He eventually admitted to being the driver, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and received a $100 fine.

"You can have false accusations once, maybe twice," said Goodell, who suspended former Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam Jones and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry after multiple brushes with the law. "When you start getting to multiple [arrests], you're putting yourself in the wrong position, you're making the wrong decisions in the wrong places. At that point in time, you're reflecting poorly on the NFL itself, your teammates.

"I'm very firm on the fact that everyone deserves the opportunity to be defended, everyone has the opportunity, if they make a mistake, to deal with that within the legal process. We understand sometimes the players are targets and we can't rush to judgment. But again, multiple offenses over a period of time, you're putting yourself in the wrong position and it reflects poorly."

Lynch is scheduled to appear in Los Angeles County Court on April 2, but his lawyer, M. Gerald Schwartzbach, hopes the case will be resolved before that date.

Schwartzbach couldn't discuss what happened because he hadn't seen the Culver City police report filed by the arresting officers.

He did say he had "sufficient information to believe the incident in question did not involve any violence or a threat of violence. Marshawn was not carrying a weapon on his person, contrary to what some people might think."

Schwartzbach, who defended actor Robert Blake when he was charged -- and acquitted -- in the murder of his wife, also said it would be "inappropriate" to answer questions about whether the gun belonged to Lynch.

"By saying that, I don't mean to suggest that it did," Schwartzbach said. "I have information that would tend to suggest otherwise. But it would be irresponsible to try to answer that question without additional information."

Schwartzbach said Lynch is very upset over the incident.

"Obviously it is a difficult situation for himself, for his family, his fans and the Buffalo Bills. He's embarrassed by this predicament," Schwartzbach said. "I have known Marshawn for a while [he represented Lynch in a domestic violence case that was dismissed in 2007]. He is a fine young man and he wants to put this behind him.

"It is my hope that we can resolve this as quickly and as fairly as we can and that he'll be able to move on with his life and with his career."

e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com

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