What I’m working on for Total Access tonight

First, I’m going to try make heads or tails of the latest ruling in the case involving Minnesota Vikings defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, who were suspended by the NFL for the first four games of 2009 for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. They were granted a temporary restraining order in Minnesota on Thursday that prevents them from being suspended until their case is decided in state court and also prevents them from having to take additional drug tests until a ruling has been made. But it’s not as simple as that.

The Minnesota judge also scheduled a July 22 hearing at which time he could opt to postpone the case at the state level pending a ruling from the federal court; the NFL appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals that no state claims should apply to this case since the league’s drug testing policies with the NFL Players Association are collectively bargained and apply to players regardless of locale.  Furthermore, the league is hopeful that a decision on their federal appeal will be granted prior to the start of the NFL season, and if the league won that appeal it would render the state proceeding moot, anyway.

Got all of that? (Wish me luck trying to wrap this up in a neat, 45-second bow on camera tonight. Yikes).

Beyond the legal matters, I’ll take a look at some changes to the Cincinnati Bengals’ offense, a couple of potential fantasy sleepers in New England and we’ll explore the burden of expectations for rookie quarterbacks Matt Stafford and Mark Sanchez.

— Jason La Canfora

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