Browns' Donte Stallworth Gets 30 Days for DUI

Yet, some wonder if Stallworth's wealth bought him his brief stay behind bars.

"If you cannot afford to settle the civil case and help out the family you have damaged, then you are going to get a longer sentence. That's unfortunate, but it's a fact of life," criminal defense attorney Roy Black said.

But other football stars haven't enjoyed the same mercy as Stallworth. Former Atlanta Falcons star Michael Vick served 23 months in a federal prison for bankrolling a dog-fighting operation. The once popular player saw fans turn on him, endorsements disappear and his once promising career vanish.

"There was outrage over what Vick was doing with the dogs, whereas with Stallworth, the family was supporting him," Black said. "This was not an intentional kind of act ... whereas with Mr. Vick, for several years he was intentionally fighting dogs. I think that's what drove his penalty to make it higher than what happened with Stallworth."

The Falcons formally relinquished their contractual obligations to the 28-year-old troubled quarterback Friday.

"In the event NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell decides to reinstate Michael, we feel his best opportunity to re-engage his football career would be at another club," Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement on the Falcons' Web site.

The No. 1 pick in the 2001 NFL draft and a three-time All-Pro quarterback with the Falcons remains on supervised home confinement in Virginia and suspended by the NFL.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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