Suspension hearings could be next year

When federal judge Paul Magnuson blocked the NFL from suspending five players on Friday, it was an enormous victory for the Minnesota Vikings and a blow to the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.

Legal experts familiar with this matter now agree that there’s a good chance that with the judge’s temporary restraining order, there will not be a full hearing on this case until after the season. Even if the judge has a full hearing once the playoffs begin, he will be under no time obligation and it could take him weeks or even months before issuing a final decision.

This means that defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams are expected to remain in Minnesota’s lineup, the Williams’ wall as impenetrable as ever.

Now, it’s true the judge always could decide to lift the temporary restraining order this week, but that is considered very unlikely. The more likely result is that the temporary restraining order will stay in place during the regular season and the playoffs. The case could be heard after the season, which means that if there is a suspension, it would be served next season.

So anyone in Chicago or Green Bay hoping that Minnesota would be thrown for a loss this season had its hopes dashed Friday.

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