Patriots’ wide receiver Julian Edelman is planning to aggressively fight the NFL over his current four-game suspension. Earlier this month the NFL announced that Edelman was being suspended for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substance. The wide receiver missed all of last year after ripping his ACL early in the season. If Edelman misses all four games, he could lose nearly $1 million in salary.
How Edelman plans to go on the offense
Edelman plans to fight the suspension in two different ways. The first issue Edelman plans to point out is that NFL officials couldn’t recognize the substance that triggered a positive result. In the past, the NFL has suspended players without being able to identify the substance.
Edelman will also accuse the NFL of mishandling the sample and essential evidence. Players have used the defense before and actually gotten their suspension overturned, but it’s not a guarantee.
What’s interesting about Edelman’s actions is that he’s not merely trying to get the suspension reduced, but trying to get it overturned entirely.
Would it even work?
Right now, it’s not clear whether Edelman actually has any chance of getting the suspension overturned. There is still a lack of clarity on a few key elements of the case. If the substance was clearly identified Edelman would stand little to no chance. However, the uncertainty and potential mishandling give Edelman a bit more of a chance.
Edelman has gone as far as hiring Alex Spiro, an outside attorney, to represent him. Spiro has worked with NBA players who have been in legal trouble. The hiring of an outside attorney could mean that Edelman plans to take the case all the way to federal court. Fellow Patriot Tom Brady had the same strategy during the deflate-gate controversy.
The Patriots aren’t the same team without Edelman and have struggled when he’s been out with injury. When he’s on the field, Edelman is one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets. Edelman will miss games against the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, and Miami Dolphins if the suspension is upheld.