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Arbitrator reinstates Patriots' Glenn

Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2001

FOXBORO, Mass. -- An arbitrator overturned Terry Glenn's season-long suspension Wednes-day, allowing him to rejoin the New England Patriots for their fifth game.

The fourth leading receiver in team history still must complete a four-game NFL suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. His agent, James Gould, said there are no plans to appeal that now.

''We are very gratified,'' Gould said in a telephone interview from his Cincinnati office. ''Terry's looking forward to returning to the club and is excited about the prospect of contributing to the team's success.''

Glenn is not allowed to practice or play with the team during his suspension.

The arbitrator's decision cannot be appealed unless the team challenges it in court, said Richard Berthelsen, general counsel of the NFL Players Association. The Patriots weren't inclined to do that

Coach Bill Belichick, who suspended Glenn after he stayed away from training camp without permission, said in a statement, ''We hope that his desire to be reinstated is a positive sign and evidence of his willingness to contribute to the team this season.''

Still unresolved is how much Glenn will be paid. The ruling means Glenn will get his $480,000 salary and performance bonuses, possibly decreased by the four games he must miss.

The parties also are at odds over how much of his signing bonus Glenn should get, but Berthelsen said that case ''is not likely to be heard for some time.''

Arbitrator Richard Bloch ruled after holding a 13-hour hearing last Thursday at Foxboro Stadium. The deadline for making the decision was Tuesday, but its release was delayed because of the terrorist attacks.

Berthelsen, one of three NFLPA lawyers at the hearing, said he wasn't surprised by the decision against the season-long suspension.

''It's such a draconian measure to use against a player that I think any neutral arbitrator's going to err on the side of the player,'' Berthelsen said.

Glenn left camp Aug. 3 when he was notified of the four-game suspension imposed by the NFL. The team sent him a letter as prescribed in the collective bargaining agreement saying it could suspend him after a fifth day of unexcused absences.

The team suspended him Aug. 15 when it put him on the reserve-left squad list. On the previous day, the team and Gould discussed the possibility of Glenn returning, Berthelsen said.

Although other issues were discussed at the hearing, Bloch ruled on narrow grounds involving that sequence of events, he added.

After no action was taken immediately after the fifth day, ''the team had an obligation to impose a new deadline,'' Berthelsen said. ''For the club to just suddenly close the door that same day, the arbitrator felt it was inappropriate. A new deadline should have been established.''

Gould said that when he called the Patriots on Aug. 15 to arrange for Glenn's return to the club, he was told by Patriots chief operating officer Andy Wasynczuk that Glenn had been placed on the reserve-left squad list.

The grievance was filed Aug. 29 by the NFLPA and sent to the NFL Management Council.

''Terry Glenn is under contract with the New England Patriots for the next six years,'' Wasynczuk said Wednesday. ''There was never any consideration of trading Terry and we fully anticipated his return to the team next year. With today's decision, his return has been expedited. We certainly hope that it will have a positive effect on the team.''

Glenn signed a six-year, $50 million contract extension last year that included an $11.5 million signing bonus. Before Bloch's ruling, the team said it won't pay Glenn his salary and will withhold the remaining $8.5 million of the signing bonus.

''This has been a long journey with still many steps to be resolved,'' Gould said. ''The fact that Terry Glenn will be able to play football this year is the most important first step.''

Glenn, the seventh pick in the 1996 draft out of Ohio State, has 315 career receptions. He started all 16 games last season and had 79 catches for a team-best 963 yards and six touchdowns.



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