After former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue threw out "all discipline" for players in the league's bounty investigation, it was only natural for New Orleans Saints fans to wonder if the forfeiture of the team's 2013 second-round draft pick also would be overturned.
When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell originally docked the organization two second-round picks, the NFL's statement outlining the discipline also left a sliver of hope for the return of this year's pick.
"In the case of the team," the statement read, "the commissioner would consider whether there are factors that would support modifying the forfeiture of the team's 2013 second-round draft choice."
Goodell had been tight-lipped on the draft-pick issue until addressing it in an online Reddit chat session with fans. "The penalty will continue to include the 2nd round draft choice in 2013," Goodell explained.
For a franchise tasked with overhauling its league-worst defense from Steve Spagnuolo's 4-3 alignment to the next coordinator's 3-4 front, it's a tough blow. The Saints desperately needed another early-round defensive talent after waiting until the third round to make a selection last year.
Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.