Report: Ray Rice’s suspension could be lifted within a month

Ray Rice's return to the NFL could come next month if he wins his appeal -- and can find a team to sign him.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Ray Rice may have already been removed from your Madden video game at home, but a return to the real-life NFL may come sooner than you think for the disgraced former Baltimore Ravens running back.

The Ravens released Rice in early September after a video of him striking his then-fiancee inside a casino elevator became public, and after initially receiving a two-week suspension from the league. Rice was eventually suspended indefinitely for his role in the altercation.

That ban may be lifted soon, however, according to CBS Sports, which is reporting that Rice could be reinstated by the NFL within the next four weeks, depending on how — and how soon — the appeals process shakes out.

According to the CBS report, Rice and his legal team are expecting to have Rice’s appeal heard by former U.S. District Court Judge Barbara S. Jones in the near future, and has "no desire" to wait until Robert Mueller finishes his investigation into the NFL’s handling of the case to clear up Rice’s status with the league

BIGGEST DRAFT BUSTS IN NFL HISTORY

At that point, it is expected that Rice’s representatives will argue that Rice was truthful in his initial meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and that the league always had access to the video that influenced the indefinite suspension, so the public release of the video should not have resulted in a longer ban.

If Rice can convince Jones that the indefinite suspension was excessive or unfair — CBS cites "numerous legal experts" who believe Rice has a strong case –€” then Jones could rule the indefinite suspension invalid, meaning that even under the new, stricter domestic violence policy, Rice would have served his time.

CBS speculates that, in such a situation, Rice could be reinstated by Week 10 in early November. Whether an NFL team would actually be willing to take the massive PR hit that could come with signing him, however, remains to be seen.