The Patriots should know fairly quickly whether they’ll be starting the season with or without veteran receiver Julian Edelman.
If, as reported, the hearing on his PED suspension began on Monday, the PED policy requires a summary ruling from the arbitrator within three business days after completion of the hearing or receipt of the transcript, whichever comes later. And since it usually takes a little while to generate a transcript of a hearing involving testimony, argument, etc., that three-business-day clock likely won’t be ticking, for now.
Also, the use of the term “business days” means that weekends and holidays don’t count. Which means that, if (for example) the transcript is received by the arbitrator on Friday, June 29, Day One becomes Monday, July 2. Day Two will be Tuesday, July 3. Day Three will be Thursday, July 5.
If the summary ruling is late, Edelman doesn’t automatically win. Instead, the arbitrator ends up being suspended from hearing appeals for the remainder of the season.
Beyond that timeline, the arbitrator could request written briefs to be submitted based on specific issues that arose during the hearing. The parties will have no more than five business days to submit the briefs, which would naturally push the process back accordingly.
Also, keep in mind that the arbitrator for appeals of PED positive tests is now neutral; that’s one of the concessions the NFLPA received when agreeing to HGH testing. So the NFL won’t be reviewing the NFL’s decision. Which gives Edelman something better than a snowball’s chance in Roger Goodell’s coffee for prevailing -- if he actually has a strong argument that can get the arbitrator’s attention.
If not, Edelman will miss the first four weeks of the season (vs. the Texans, Jaguars, Lions, and Dolphins), and the Patriots will enter 2018 without Edelman, Danny Amendola, or Brandin Cooks.