NFC North: Stephen Burbank

Sunday afternoon: Roster maneuvers

October, 7, 2012
10/07/12
3:06
PM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- Greetings from the Metrodome, where we're about an hour from kickoff here between the Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans.

The Vikings' list of inactive players had no real surprises. Linebacker Erin Henderson (concussion) is back after a two-game absence, and his backup, Marvin Mitchell (calf) is inactive.

The Vikings do have an extra receiver, Stephen Burton, active for this game. That could be because of a rib injury that made receiver Michael Jenkins questionable (but active) for this game.

Meanwhile, in Jacksonville, the Chicago Bears deactivated receiver Earl Bennett (hand) for the second consecutive week. They left themselves a little heavier at defensive tackle than normal, keeping Matt Toeaina active, probably to help against the Jaguars' running game.
You've probably seen reports that Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove was in New York City on Wednesday to appeal his eight-game NFL suspension.

You might also have seen reports that appeal hearings have been scheduled for May 30 for Hargrove and three other players suspended as part of the league's bounty investigation.

To clear up any confusion, let's make clear that the NFL Players Association is pursuing two parallel agendas here. Wednesday's hearing, before independent arbitrator Shyam Das, was to discuss the NFLPA's contention that commissioner Roger Goodell can't discipline players for actions that occurred under the jurisdiction of the previous collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

The May 30 hearing, to be heard by independent arbitrator Stephen Burbank, will center on whether Goodell or an independent arbitrator should hear the eventual appeal.

Most of this is legal gobbedly-gook, but it's important because it could impact whether Hargrove gets back some or all of his suspension and thus be available to the Packers before midseason.

As you've probably heard by now, the NFL Players Association has taken its first steps toward appealing the bounty-related suspensions of Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove and three other current and former New Orleans Saints players. As ESPN's Andrew Brandt points out, the crux of the NFLPA's efforts are to circumvent NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as the point man of the appeal and put it in the hands of independent arbitrators.

Instead of Goodell, the NFLPA wants longtime arbitrator Stephen Burbank to adjudicate the appeal.

Be sure to check out the news story linked above or Brandt's "SportsCenter" appearance in the video if you're interested in the details of the proceedings. But the bottom line is that Hargrove's eight-game suspension won't be final until the appeal process is complete, and that could take some time.

The question of what happens in the meantime isn't yet relevant for Hargrove. The terms of his punishment state that he can continue to participate in the Packers' offseason program, organized team activities (OTAs), minicamp, training camp and even preseason games. His suspension wouldn't begin until Week 1 of the regular season. So he has four months of flexibility before the timing of the appeals process becomes an issue.

Earlier: Hargrove said in a declaration to the NFL that he was instructed to lie about the Saints' bounty program during a 2010 investigation. That lie is the primary reason Hargrove received the second-longest suspension among the four players who were punished.

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