For most in the American workforce, Monday is a holiday. For most in the NFL, it’s a workday. For three employees of the Saints, it’s neither.
As Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune explains it, Monday is the day on which G.M. Mickey Loomis, interim coach Joe Vitt, and defensive end Will Smith will begin their suspensions.
The recent hurricane resulted in discussions regarding the possible delay of the eight-game suspension that Loomis will serve. In the end, the Saints were unable to get a reprieve for Week One, absent an extension of the suspension through Week Nine.
While neither Loomis nor Vitt (who has been suspended six weeks) have any chance at returning early, absent the NFL equivalent of a presidential pardon, Smith could be back soon, along with linebacker Jonathan Vilma. Very soon.
As early as Tuesday, Judge Helen G. Berrigan could issue a ruling in the pending bounty cases. She could either overturn the suspensions, or she could lift them while she ponders a final decision. Either way, it will be difficult if not impossible for the NFL to keep Smith, Vilma, and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita off the field by successfully appealing Judge Berrigan’s decision.