On Friday, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman attended a hearing on the appeal of his pending four-game suspension for violation of the league’s policy regarding performance-enhancing substances.
After the hearing, Sherman declared that he’ll be available to play when Seattle hosts San Francisco on Sunday Night Football.
“Been a long day but very productive,” Sherman wrote on his Twitter page, via the Seattle Times. “I will be out there with my teammates Sunday!”
Per league policy, a ruling on Sherman’s appeal must be issued within five days. Last year, however, a ruling was delayed in the appeals filed by Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams and defensive lineman Ryan McBean, prompting an eventual suggestion by Williams’ lawyer that the NFL didn’t want to suspend the players during the playoffs, in order to ensure that Tebowmania wouldn’t be undermined by the loss of a key defensive player.
In the end, the delayed ruling didn’t help Williams overturn his suspension. In Sherman’s case, he likely wouldn’t complain if the decision comes after the team’s playoff run has ended, even though he stands to lose more money from a suspension during the 2013 regular season, unless the Seahawks make it to the conference title game.
Regardless of when the ruling comes, it won’t be easy for Sherman to win. As one source with extensive knowledge of the process has told PFT, these cases weren’t lost in the hearing room but at the bargaining table, given that the NFL and the NFLPA agreed to procedures that make it harder for the players to develop the evidence that would support an attack on any deficiencies in the sample collection and testing process.