Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Thursday, July 9, 2009
Williams Wall free and clear -- for now


Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

After winning another temporary injunction Thursday, Minnesota defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams will continue playing for as long as they can drag out their legal case against the NFL.

That's the upshot of this ruling from Hennepin County District Judge Gary Larson, who was also responsible for restoring the players' eligibility last December after the NFL suspended them four games for testing positive for a banned diuretic.

In court documents, both players have said they were trying to make weight and were unaware that the product they ingested -- StarCaps -- contained the diuretic bumetanide. They have since sued the NFL for failing to inform them adequately and also are claiming the league's steroid testing policy is a violation of Minnesota state labor law.

Larson's ruling clarifies that both players will remain eligible for regular-season games while the legal angles play out. It's always possible that those cases could be resolved before the Vikings' Sept. 13 season opener at Cleveland, but that would require a significant acceleration of a process that already has spanned eight months.

It seems more likely that the case will carry into the fall and perhaps beyond. In that scenario, we would be back to speculating which -- if any -- games Kevin Williams and Pat Williams will miss. If they ultimately lose their legal challenge, the suspensions will kick in immediately thereafter. But if I had to guess, no such conclusion is imminent.