In a scene straight out of a movie, New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith hopes to get a stay of execution at the last minute in regards to his four-game suspension this season due to his alleged role in the bounty investigation.
It all hinges of course on Judge Helen G. Berrigan who holds the fate of Smith as well as the other suspended players in the case in her very hands. What looked like a long shot at first could be a reality.
The NFLPA has filed a temporary restraining order to help the players suspended possibly see the field this weekend. If Berrigan grants the order, Smith could actually see action in the Saints first game of the season against the Washington Redskins.
Fellow teammate linebacker Jonathan Vilma could too technically, but that wouldn’t be too realistic since he is currently trying to rehabilitate his injured knee. Vilma hasn’t been able to participate in any practices or preseason games due to his season-long suspension in the bounty investigation.
Smith on the other hand has practiced and played in the preseason games and interim head coach for the moment Aaron Kromer said there is a very good chance Smith would play if his suspension was lifted or the temporary restraining order was granted.
The productive defensive end was very hopeful that things would work out and he would be able to play this Sunday. Smith, like the other Saints players, know that not only is this the first game of the season, but that it’s being played at home in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Berrigan appears to be the last stop for the player suspensions since the process began before the summer. She expressed her wish to be that both parties, the players and the NFL, could work things out on their own. Smith issued this statement:
"“While we believe in mediation and settlement, the NFL has never expressed a genuine interest in a mediation process that would provide the players with a fair venue that could be trusted, nor made a settlement offer for us to professionally consider, at any time.That is why we have asked the court for just relief. It is my sincere hope to have this matter resolved as quickly as possible so I may return to my job, teammates and fans, as we take the field against the Redskins.”"
With neither side appearing like they will budge, as much as Berrigan doesn’t want to get blood on her hands, it looks like she’ll have to. A decision is expected from her by tomorrow at the latest.