The NFL Players Association has asked a federal judge for a temporary restraining order that would allow players suspended in connection with the NFL’s bounty investigation to rejoin their teams in time to play regular season openers.
The union, which filed the motion Tuesday on behalf of New Orleans defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita, and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, argues the players will suffer irreparable harm if they are forced to miss games while their case against the league proceeds.
Suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma had already filed a similar motion when his full-season suspension began earlier. The other three players’ suspensions began this week.
The players ultimately want their suspensions thrown out because they argue the disciplinary process was fundamentally flawed and unfair.
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U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan, who is hearing the case, has said she found the league’s handling of the bounty matter to be unfair to the players and their punishments excessive, but she has also said she is not yet comfortable that federal courts have jurisdiction to rule on a process that was collectively bargained between the union and the league.
HADEN STILL IN LIMBO
Browns cornerback Joe Haden, one of Cleveland’s best players, is awaiting word from the NFL on a possible four-game suspension for failing a drug test. On Tuesday, Browns president Mike Holmgren revealed in a local radio interview that Haden has already had his appeal hearing with the league.
“Now it’s up to someone else,” Holmgren told 92.3 The Fan. “And we don’t know.”
Holmgren’s comments were the first confirming Haden’s suspension, which was first reported by espncleveland.com last month. Haden reportedly failed a test for taking Adderall, which is on the league’s banned substance list.
RAVENS KEEP MCKINNIE
Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie restructured his contract Tuesday to stay with the team.
At one point during negotiations, McKinnie walked away from the table and posted on Twitter that his time with the Ravens was over. His tweet shortly before noon read: “Decision is made! I’m gone!”
But the sides reconvened later, and the 6-foot-8, 360-pound left tackle begrudgingly reworked his contract rather than start to look for another job. He was supposed to receive a $3.2 million base salary in 2012, his second year with the Ravens.
The Jets released punter T.J. Conley and nose tackle Isaako Aatui on Tuesday while recently cut defensive tackle Marcus Dixon and his agent wrote on Twitter that he re-signed with the team five days before the team’s regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills. … Quarterback David Garrard has been released by the Dolphins, leaving Matt Moore as the veteran backup to rookie starter Ryan Tannehill. … Bills rookie cornerback Ron Brooks will miss at least eight weeks after being placed on a short-term injured reserve list. Buffalo also re-signed receiver Ruvell Martin and signed defensive tackle Jay Ross to the practice squad. … The Patriots have signed running back Lex Hilliard and released offensive lineman Matt Tennant. … The Giants have signed receiver Brandon Collins to the practice squad and terminated the contract of offensive lineman Stephen Goodin. … The Bengals placed center Kyle Cook on the injured reserve list while giving him a chance to return later this season if his right ankle heals. … Former Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt will be honored before the Titans’ season opener Sunday against the New England Patriots.