Status of StarCaps players still uncertain for Week 1

Several notable NFL players facing possible suspensions from the StarCaps case still are awaiting word from the courts and the league as to their status for Week 1.

The NFL hopes to get a federal court ruling this week — before the start of the regular-season schedule — concerning the Minnesota state court’s ability to determine whether or not Vikings players Kevin Williams and Pat Williams must serve a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on banned substances.  Saints defensive linemen Will Smith and Charles Grant also are facing suspension for use of the StarCaps product, which included ingredients on the league’s list of banned substances, but as they are not working in the state of Minnesota, they are not involved this court case.

A federal court could rule that the league’s collectively bargained drug policy outweighs any state statutes and applies universally regardless of locale, in which case the suspensions would be upheld.

However, if the Saints don’t get word from the NFL or the courts about the status of Smith and Grant by Tuesday night, the players will be permitted to play this week, according to several sources with knowledge of the situation, even should a ruling by the courts come in the ensuing days. In that event, Grant and Smith would begin serving their suspensions the following week, according to the sources. The Saints would be in a roster bind otherwise and would not have sufficient time to adjust to the loss of their players late in the week.

The league office declined comment on the matter.

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