Around the Pound: Haden's Suspension, Fujita's Week 1 Status

Editor's note: I am pilot testing a revamped edition of Around the Pound, which would serve as a compliment to The Sunday Five during the regular season, covering a few stories taking place mid-week.

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Inside of Tuesday night's edition of Around the Pound: the latest word on whether CB Joe Haden will be suspended Week 1, whether LB Scott Fujita has any chance of playing, and a few things going on with SB Nation.


CB Joe Haden might still play against Philly. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that team president Mike Holmgren would be at the studios of 92.3 The Fan on Kiley & Booms (listen to the FULL interview here). They had access to Holmgren for about a half hour, and much like his press conference on Monday, it was pleasant to listen to.

When Holmgren was asked about cornerback Joe Haden and his possible suspension, I figured we would hear the same, "you're in the same boat as me" type of response that we've heard the past several weeks. That is how Holmgren started out when he said, "I never been able to figure that whole thing out." Then, to my surprise, Holmgren followed up with this:

"He’s had his appeal hearing and now it’s up to someone else. And we don’t know."

He said it so nonchalantly, but I immediately perked up and wondered, "did I just hear that right?" From that statement, you can infer that Haden faces a four-game suspension, but is in the middle of his appeal. This is where is gets interesting. Per the NFL's Greg Aiello, the league will not acknowledge the suspension if Haden wins his appeal. Typically, if decisions on appeals are not made by Monday or Tuesday, the player would be allowed to at least compete in that week's game. By not hearing anything from the league, is that a good sign that Haden might win his appeal? Or, have they simply not ruled yet, and he'll just end up being suspended still at a later date? I'm sure we'll find out more details soon, but I think I'm more intrigued that Holmgren seemed to accidentally let the cat out of the bag after things were seemingly being kept somewhat secretive by the team.

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LB Scott Fujita is trying to get back with the team ASAP. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

The other suspension-related situation involves linebacker Scott Fujita. The players involved in the bounty case are not giving up on their hopes of playing in Week 1, and the latest news is that the NFLPA has asked for a temporary restraining order in hopes that a guy like Fujita can resume practicing and playing with his team:

The NFL Players Association has asked a federal judge for a temporary restraining order that would allow players suspended in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation to rejoin their teams in time to play regular season openers. The union, which filed the motion Tuesday on behalf of New Orleans defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita, and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, argues the players will suffer irreparable harm if they are forced to miss games while their case against the league proceeds.

Without debating the merits of whether or not Fujita should be suspended, having him back for Week 1 would seem to be a bonus. It is rough enough that the team lost outside linebacker Chris Gocong for the season, but rookie James-Michael Johnson, slated to start in place of Fujita, could miss this week's game as he deals with an oblique injury. That would thrust an undrafted free agent, either Craig Robertson or L.J. Fort, into the starting lineup right off the bat. As nice as they looked in the preseason, you have to worry about how they'd do when the games start to count.

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To cap things off, I have two things to talk about related to SB Nation. First, if you have not already done so, play the new Pick 6 Football game before Wednesday's deadline and compete against other members of Dawgs By Nature.

Second, each year, it is popular to go over to other team's blogs and "join" their site to talk about the upcoming game. Some sites have waiting periods before you can comment, but you can combat that my going to every team's blog who Cleveland faces this season and joining them now. If you're more interested in taking things one week at a time, head on over to Bleeding Green Nation right now and sign up.

Feel free to leave your thoughts on the updated Around the Pound, which intends to hit on fewer stories but more in-depth.

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