Julian Edelman's appeal of his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy has been denied, according to a source with knowledge of the proceedings.
The appeal hearing took place last week and was heard by a third-party arbitrator jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFLPA.
The league's PED policy was changed in 2014, resulting in all appeals of positive tests to be heard by third-party arbitrators. According to NFL Media's Tom Pelissero, the arbitrator in Edelman's case was Glenn Wong, whose past arbitration experience has included work for the NFL, MLB and USOC.
The question for Edelman now becomes . . . What's next?
The 32-year-old receiver will be permitted to take part in all preseason practices and games with the Patriots. His suspension without pay will begin at the start of the regular season and last through his team's Week 4 game at home against the Dolphins. Edelman will be eligible to return to New England's active roster the next day, Monday, Oct. 1.
Edelman and his legal team have a couple of options. They could accept the four-game ban and plan on missing games against Houston, Jacksonville, Detroit and Miami. Or they could choose to fight.
Edelman's agent is Don Yee, who has long represented Tom Brady and was part of Brady's legal team during the Deflategate matter. Also in Edelman's corner is New York-based attorney Alex Spiro.
Spiro is a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, LLP who has handled a number of high-profile cases. He was a member of Aaron Hernandez's defense team in Hernandez's double homicide trial. Spiro also represented Utah Jazz forward (then a member of the Atlanta Hawks) Thabo Sefolosha when Sefolosha was found not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest stemming from an incident in New York City in 2015.
If Edelman and his team feel strongly enough about the arguments they made at his appeal hearing last week, they could opt to pursue his case in court. Whether or not he actually chooses that route remains to be seen, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.