Federal judge blocks NFL from suspending five players

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A federal judge has blocked the NFL from suspending five players for violating the league's anti-doping policy.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson said Friday he needed more time to consider the case after hearing several hours of arguments from the league and the NFL Players Association.

The league released the following statement in response to the ruling:

"Judge Magnuson made clear this afternoon that he needed more time to fully and carefully consider all of the briefs, arguments, and cases put before him. We welcome that scrutiny. We are confident that, once he has had an opportunity to review all of the relevant materials, including the Collective Bargaining Agreement, he will uphold our longstanding agreements with the NFLPA that protect the health and safety of NFL players and the integrity of our game."

Kevin Williams and Pat Williams of the Minnesota Vikings, and Charles Grant, Deuce McAllister and Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints all were suspended this week for four games. They tested positive for a banned diuretic in the dietary supplement StarCaps.

The union has argued the NFL didn't properly inform players about the substance. The NFL's attorneys argued that claim, and others, had been considered and rejected in a process set out by the league's collective bargaining agreement.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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