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Marshawn Lynch's court dates pushed back


In case you missed it over the holiday weekend, Marshawn Lynch's court date that had been originally scheduled for last Thursday - a motion-to-suppress hearing related to a DUI arrest from last July - was continued to November 1st, as first reported by Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune and according to Teresa Drenick, assistant district attorney for the Alameda County District Attorney's office. Lynch has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for this Thursday but according to Williams, the parties may negotiate and settle outside of court at any time. Lynch has pleaded not guilty to the charge. Lynch's trial had originally been planned for June 21st, but that has obviously been pushed way back.

If parties can't come to any out-of-court agreement, the next step would be trial, but this continuance extends things out a good bit. The next item on the schedule would be a readiness hearing on December 27th, close to the end of the Seahawks' 2013 regular season. Though a trial date may be chosen before that day, it's unlikely things will get started before the readiness hearing is conducted. Regardless, this likely means Lynch won't be suspended by league commish Roger Goodell for the early part of the season but now casts a little bit of a dark cloud over his theoretical availability for the Playoffs, should the Seahawks clinch a spot.

Lynch has a little bit of a history with Goodell: He was suspended for the first three games of the 2009 season for violating the league's personal conduct policy related to a misdemeanor gun charge in L.A. He was also cited in 2008 for hitting a pedestrian with his car and leaving the scene in Buffalo, N.Y. He claimed that he hadn't realized he had hit the woman, but pleaded guilty and his license was revoked. Because he's now had multiple arrests, there's a greater chance this could lead to a suspension going forward, though obviously it would appear the league office is waiting for a resolution to this case before acting.

Now, there is still some speculation, rather than certainty, as to how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell may look at this situation, in terms of determining whether or not to suspend the Seahawks' foundation running back. As's Albert Breer explained at the time of Lynch's arrest, "Lynch's first suspendable offense was under the personal conduct policy, this one would fall under the substance abuse policy. Under personal conduct policy, repeat offenders are those 'who have had previous violations of law or of this policy.' The issue is that the second offense [this DUI arrest, and charge] was under the substance abuse policy, and that's where the grey area is. We'll see where it goes."

As Mike Florio of PFT explained, "the substance-abuse policy provides that, ordinarily, a player will only be fined for a first-offense DUI."

Also, there's a subjective side to Goodell's decision making process as well, so it could be taken into account that Lynch had been clean for the last three and a half years prior to this arrest (and now four and a half years, as a year has passed with no further off-field issues for Lynch). This might matter, it might not. Either way, it looks like things are pushed back even further, at least into December and possibly past that.