NFL hears Julian Edelman's appeal of 4-game suspension Monday

Julian Edelman's appeal of his four-game drug suspension was heard Monday, and sources said he planned to mount a vigorous defense that questioned the NFL's handling of his case.

ESPN reported earlier this month that the New England Patriots receiver is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.

As the MMQB reported a few days later, the substance for which Edelman tested positive wasn't one the league's drug testers recognized. That remains one of two key issues at the heart of his appeal.

The other, according to a source, involves a mishandling of the documentation and delivery of Edelman's test results. During the course of the investigation, it was learned that the NFL made mistakes in the manner in which the test results were handled. Edelman is arguing that the mishandling of the evidence is one of the reasons he should be exonerated.

Edelman, 32, who has been a regular participant in the team's offseason program, organized team activities and minicamp, missed the entire 2017 season after tearing an ACL during the preseason.

To assist in his defense, Edelman has enlisted outside counsel, specifically Alex Spiro, a New York-based attorney who gained fame in recent years for his work representing NBA players in their legal entanglements.

Given the addition of Spiro to the defense and the recent history between the Patriots and the NFL in the Tom Brady Deflategate matter, it isn't out of the question that Edelman could end up pursuing an appeal of his case in federal court if the arbitration does not go his way.