The Cleveland Browns may not be without linebacker Scott Fujita for as long as they might have thought. Fujita was suspended for three games in the New Orleans Saints bounty schedule, a stark contrast to Jonathan Vilma, who got hit with a full season ban. As such, all players involved - which also includes Will Smith and Anthony Hargrove - are appealing.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports on Twitter that Fujita has officially filed his appeal:
Appeals for the other three suspended players -- Will Smith, Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove -- are officially filed to Roger Goodell.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 7, 2012
Apparently, that's not entirely accurate. Fujita, Smith and Hargrove has filed a "reservation of rights" to commissioner Roger Goodell, as opposed to an actual appeal. The differences between the two are somewhat unclear, but Andrew Brandt does follow-up with a little bit of knowledge on the matter:
Smith/Fujita/Hargrove reserve their rights to appeal but don't recognize Goodell's authority to discipline; thus no appeal hearing.— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) May 7, 2012
It will certainly be interesting to see how this differs from a normal appeal process. It looks as though the players are attempting to go around Goodell, but will reserve the right to appeal to Goodell if they're unable to do so. It's very convoluted, but this whole situation has been from the very beginning either way.