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Possibility remains for consecutive suspensions of Williamses

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Last September, when the NFL received the green light to suspend Saints defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant, there was talk that the league would impose the suspensions consecutively, robbing the Saints of one player at a time, instead of both at once. Ultimately, the league opted to table the suspensions pending the outcome of the lawsuit brought by Vikings defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams.

For the Saints, the issue of consecutive suspensions has become moot, given that Grant is gone. For the Vikings, the question has become instantly relevant, given Judge Gary Larson’s conclusions that, although the NFL violated Minnesota drug-testing laws in connection with the Williamses, the suspensions would be permitted to proceed because the players were not harmed.

According to Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com, the league office has opted not to comment on the possibility of consecutive suspensions. “Until Judge [Gary] Larson rules on the pending motion before him, we will withhold comment on the suspensions,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Pelissero.

We’re aware of no policy or precedent that would permit consecutive suspensions. But the fact that the league has opted to stay the suspensions of Grant and Smith shows that the league can fashion on a case-by-case basis whatever approach the league deems to be fair and appropriate.

If the suspensions of the Vikings defensive tackles are imposed consecutively, it makes even more sense for the team to make a play for Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. For eight games, he would be a clear-cut starter -- and then he’d enter the rotation for the stretch run. If 37-year-old Pat Williams retires after the season, Haynesworth would step right in to the starting lineup come 2011.

We’ll have more on the StarCaps case later today (via PFT Daily), and we still have yet to do a full breakdown of the 27-page written opinion from Judge Larson.