After Browns linebacker Scott Fujita met with Commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday, completing the process of sitting down with each of the four players whose suspensions were vacated, it was reported that Goodell would re-issue discipline to the players on Monday or Tuesday.
Monday and Tuesday have come and gone, with no decision.
Until a decision is issued, the appeal process can’t begin. Once the appeal process begins, a hearing will have to be set, presumably on an upcoming Tuesday when all four players can attend.
It has been presumed that Goodell will simply re-issue with different wording the suspensions that an internal appeals panel scuttled on technical grounds in September: a full season for Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, eight games for free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove, four games for Saints defensive end Will Smith, and three games for Fujita. There’s a chance that Goodell will choose to go a little lighter, or possibly to reiterate the suspensions and then reduce them via the appeal process, in an effort to show that the system works, even if the guy who made the initial decision also is the one who reviews the decision.
Then there’s the possibility/likelihood of a return to federal court.
Regardless, the bounty cases will continue to hover, barring an unlikely agreement between the players and the league to bury the hatchet, and move on.