Following Ray Rice‘s appeal hearing this past week, former U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones is expected to make a ruling on the case sometime before the end of November, according to reports from Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Canfora indicates that a decision may come before Thanksgiving, while Rapoport says it should happen within the next three weeks.
Although last week’s two-day hearing has concluded, the two sides are scheduled to present closing arguments to Jones this coming Thursday, with an understanding that a ruling on the case will come within 10 days of that date, says La Canfora. Meanwhile, Rapoport indicates that the final briefs from both sides are due to Jones a week from Monday, at which point she should have all the materials necessary to make a decision.
Jones has been tasked with deciding whether or not to uphold the league’s indefinite suspension of Rice, which the union argues was levied on the running back despite no new incidents or new information surfacing since he was originally suspended for two games for assaulting his then-fiancée in a casino hotel elevator.
If he’s reinstated, Rice will be eligible to sign with any team, but that may be a moot point for at least the 2014 season. Even if he’s deemed eligible to return to the field, it’s hard to imagine a team signing Rice within the next few weeks, given the backlash that the club would certainly face.