Hearing on Jackson's suspension status set for Thursday

There's another key date in the Vincent Jackson saga: Thursday. That's when a 10 a.m. ET hearing regarding the San Diego Chargers holdout's roster-exempt case will be held before the Special Master.

The NFL Players Association contends that Jackson shouldn't have to serve a three-game roster-exempt suspension if he's traded. However, the NFL contends that Jackson must serve the suspension regardless, meaning the Pro Bowl wide receiver could miss six games because of a previous three-game ban for violating the league's personal-conduct policy.

It's a critical issue to the trade value of Jackson, who still hasn't signed his restricted free-agent tender with the Chargers and wants a long-term contract or a new team.

The Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams explored the possibility of dealing for Jackson before the start of the season. Jackson's agents say they had a one-year deal in place with one team -- believed to be the Vikings -- last week, but it was negated when the team and Chargers couldn't agree on a trade.

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