BEREA -- Maybe it pays to be a good citizen.
It could have helped Shaun Rogers' cause with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after Rogers wasn't such a good citizen. The Browns defensive lineman claimed he mistakenly forgot to remove a firearm from a piece of luggage that he tried to pass through security at Cleveland Hopkins Airport last March. Rogers didn't receive jail time but was ordered into a diversion program and instructed to take a gun course.
Rogers' better side emerged in late July when he called 911 to inform police of a car that was weaving in and out of traffic and riding on a flat tire. He drove behind the car with his emergency flashers on to divert other drivers away from the vehicle, which was being operated by a drunk driver.
Middleburg Heights police chief John Maddox lauded Rogers for his actions in preventing an accident.
It was announced Tuesday that Rogers wouldn't be suspended by the NFL but would be fined one game check, which amounts to approximately $400,000. Rogers is appealing the fine.
Rogers refused to confirm the fine before joining teammates at practice Tuesday.
Goodell, during a visit to Browns' training camp almost four weeks ago, said that Rogers' actions with the drunk driver were admirable.
"I think that's a great example of a young man making a mistake on one hand and doing something very positive on the other," Goodell said. "I think that's another demonstration of what I've often said. I think our guys do wonderful things on and off the field, and I'm proud of what they do. They're going to make mistakes, though, and obviously they've made a couple of mistakes here."
Goodell was including defensive lineman Robaire Smith in his comments. Smith was also arrested for having a concealed weapon in a piece of luggage at the Cleveland airport last year. Smith has yet to hear if he'll be suspended.
"You can't assume anything," Smith said when asked if he thinks he'll receive only a fine. "They're two different situations. In a perfect world I would want to think that."
Of more concern to the Browns at this time is the health of Rogers, who missed the final five games of last season with a lower leg injury. He began training camp on the active physically unable to perform (PUP) list, which means he can be placed on the active roster before the regular season starts.
Since Rogers seldom talks to reporters, no one has an idea how he feels and what his timetable is for a return. Coach Eric Mangini has been vague in his comments about the situation.
A decision will have to be made soon. Players on PUP when the season starts have to remain on the list for six weeks. There's then a three-week window during which time the player can be activated.
If the player isn't activated during that period, he's then placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.
Rogers has been an enigma since the Detroit Lions selected him in the second round of the 2001 draft. He was selected to the NFC Pro Bowl roster twice (2004 and 2005) but was often criticized for not playing at full speed all the time.
The Lions traded Rogers to the Browns in 2008 for cornerback Leigh Bodden and a third-round choice in the 2008 draft. He proceeded to have one of his best seasons that year in earning a third trip to the Pro Bowl.
Rogers recently turned 31, which is a time when a player of his size (at least 350 pounds) begins to slow down. He's been seen running on his own without a limp during practices.
The delay in activating Rogers might be Mangini's way of protecting a valuable defensive asset. Rogers practiced sparingly during training camp last season but was on the field for the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
Assuming Rogers does play this season, he'll likely spend more time at end. Third-year veteran Ahtyba Rubin, who played well in five starts at nose tackle after Rogers was hurt, is expected to start on the nose in the base 3-4. Rogers and Kenyon Coleman would be the starting ends, with Smith coming off the bench.
ROSTER MOVES: The Browns reduced their roster to 75 Tuesday by placing defensive lineman Titus Adams on injured reserve and waiving defensive backs John Bowie and Gerard Lawson; receiver Taurus Johnson and offensive lineman John Malecki. The final cuts Saturday will reduce the roster to the 53-player limit.