NFLPA initiates Anthony Hargrove appeal

As you've probably heard by now, the NFL Players Association has taken its first steps toward appealing the bounty-related suspensions of Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove and three other current and former New Orleans Saints players. As ESPN's Andrew Brandt points out, the crux of the NFLPA's efforts are to circumvent NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as the point man of the appeal and put it in the hands of independent arbitrators.

Instead of Goodell, the NFLPA wants longtime arbitrator Stephen Burbank to adjudicate the appeal.

Be sure to check out the news story linked above or Brandt's "SportsCenter" appearance in the video if you're interested in the details of the proceedings. But the bottom line is that Hargrove's eight-game suspension won't be final until the appeal process is complete, and that could take some time.

The question of what happens in the meantime isn't yet relevant for Hargrove. The terms of his punishment state that he can continue to participate in the Packers' offseason program, organized team activities (OTAs), minicamp, training camp and even preseason games. His suspension wouldn't begin until Week 1 of the regular season. So he has four months of flexibility before the timing of the appeals process becomes an issue.

Earlier: Hargrove said in a declaration to the NFL that he was instructed to lie about the Saints' bounty program during a 2010 investigation. That lie is the primary reason Hargrove received the second-longest suspension among the four players who were punished.