The Cleveland Browns are amid preparations to host the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1. Which players they'll have available for that game seems to carry with it as much intrigue as what they'll do to stop ultra-mobile QB Michael Vick.
The status of CB Joe Haden, who apparently is on double-secret suspension from the league right now for allegedly failing a drug test, is still up in the air. Haden's failed test is allegedly due to the use of Adderall, which is the same medication Steelers TE Weslye Saunders tested positive for, resulting in his four-game suspension.
Browns president Mike Holmgren told Cleveland-based 92.3 The Fan spoke recently of Haden's status, confirming Haden has already had his appeal hearing, and speculated, "I suspect if we haven't heard by now, that we'll have him for the first game, but I don't know for sure."
The mishandling of this whole situation reeks of NFL bureaucracy. Teams typically have pre-game meetings to kick off game weeks on Mondays, followed by a players day off Tuesday, and full practice Wednesday. As of Tuesday, the Browns haven't received any kind of confirmation whether Haden's appeal would be accepted or rejected, leaving them in the dark as to whether their top cornerback will be available in Week 1.
Rules are rules, and that's fine, but given the fact the league allows an appeals process (even though it's as big a sham as the legal systems of many corrupt countries), their lack of response is simply unacceptable.
I don't think anyone would particularly care if the NFL rolled back the suspension. If they are steadfast in maintaining the validity of their policy against performance-enhancing substances, and find they have reason to suspend Haden for the first four games this season, then ok.
But standing in the middle like this paints this whole stupid affair in a kangaroo court kind of amateurism. It's comical to know a $9 billion industry containing 1,696 key employees could go this long without providing communication on a situation this vital.
It also bleeds into the larger fiasco involving Browns LB Scott Fujita, who is still fighting the good fight in regards to BountyGate - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's Little Bighorn.
The NFLPA has filed a motion seeking a temporary restraining order against the NFL's suspensions of Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith, likely to continue discussions of some kind of agreement.
Louisiana judge Helen Berrigan said in regards to the fourth suspended member of BountyGate, Jonathan Vilma, during the hearing on his defamation lawsuit against Goodell, the suspension is too aggressive, and urged both sides to come to an agreement, because she didn't feel she was legally allowed to rule on it.
The NFL's credibility sinks with each passing day of this farce, because the defiance it continuously faces from the union and apparently from a judge involved with the case. The next player suspended is liable to take this route as well, and the circle will continue.