With four weeks of the NFL season now in the books, several players – and one general manager – are eligible to return from their four-game suspensions, as Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link) notes. While Yates’ list isn’t exhaustive, he includes the most notable names who will be eligible to suit up for their teams’ next games:
- Martavis Bryant, WR (Steelers)
- Antonio Gates, TE (Chargers)
- Greg Hardy, DE (Cowboys)
- Rolando McClain, LB (Cowboys)
- Sheldon Richardson, DL (Jets)
- Derek Wolfe, DE (Broncos)
- Ray Farmer, general manager (Browns)
In most cases, teams will be given a roster exemption for their returning players, so they won’t have to immediately make room for them on the 53-man roster today. However, teams will have to create an opening on their rosters by Thursday if they intend to activate these players, and there aren’t any players on this list that look like release candidates.
The Cowboys could get the biggest boost this week, with two of their best defensive players – Hardy and McClain – set to return. McClain’s career production has been somewhat up and down, and Hardy hasn’t played since Week 1 of the 2014 season, so it’ll be interesting to see if either player is able to make an immediate impact for Dallas.
Richardson, meanwhile, could be a candidate for additional discipline — he’ll have his pre-trial hearing on street-racing charges today, but the legal process is expected to continue for about a month, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). The NFL could step in and hand out another suspension for Richardson before his trial, but it’s more likely that the league will simply wait until after it concludes to make a decision.
As for Farmer, the Browns GM, who was suspended for texting coaches on the sideline during games last season, will be able to resume making roster decisions today, though Cleveland wasn’t exactly closed for business over the last four weeks — with interim GM Bill Kuharich at the helm, the team locked up quarterback Austin Davis to a two-year extension last week.