With Ray Rice in the process of appealing his indefinite ban from the NFL, the suspended running back’s hearing has been tentatively scheduled for early November, a league source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. According to Florio, “pre-hearing skirmishes and other complications” could push that date back a little, but for now it appears the hearing will take place within the next month or so.
Having been indefinitely suspended following the release of the elevator video that showed him knocking his them-fiancée unconscious, Rice is appealing the decision, and his camp figures to argue that he is being punished a second time for the incident that originally resulted in a two-game suspension. Per Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter links) ,the NFLPA will act as lead counsel for Rice in the appeal process, while attorney Peter Ginsberg will be “providing support.”
As Florio observes, with Robert Mueller‘s investigation into the NFL’s handling of the Rice incident expected to take several months, it seems as if the appeal process will conclude before Mueller’s investigation does. As such, it may be in the NFL’s best interest, if the hearing date proceeds as scheduled, without delays — if Mueller completes his report before the hearing takes place, the NFLPA and Rice’s camp will have access to that report and could use those findings to strengthen the running back’s case.
Even in the event that Rice wins his appeal, and his ban is reduced or dropped entirely, its extremely unlikely that he’ll return to the field this season. Even teams in desperate need of running back help would shy away from bringing in a player whose reputation has been as tarnished as Rice’s in the last few months — the fact that Richie Incognito remains a free agent is proof of that.