CONROE, Texas — Adrian Peterson is hoping to go to trial as soon as possible. Whether the star running back for the Minnesota Vikings returns to the playing field any time soon is another question entirely.
A Texas judge on Wednesday set a tentative Dec. 1 trial date for Peterson to face a felony charge of child abuse after using a wooden switch to discipline his 4-year-old son in suburban Houston earlier this year. Defense attorney Rusty Hardin said after the hearing that Peterson is “chomping at the bit” to defend himself publicly.
But the case might not be tried before the end of the year, meaning Peterson — who is on paid leave from the team — may not be back on the field this season. The Vikings’ final regular-season game is Dec. 28.
The trial date might change, too: Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon said he intends to file a motion to recuse Judge Kelly Case after the judge called each lead attorney in the case a “media whore.” Case apologized, saying the comment was meant as a joke.
A Nov. 4 hearing was scheduled on whether to assign a new judge. Case said the trial would likely begin Dec. 1 if keeps the case.
Peterson faces up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted of injury to a child. He has said he never intended to harm his son and was only disciplining him in the same way he had been as a child growing up in East Texas.
GOODELL SAYS ARBITER DECIDES IF HE TESTIFIES ON RICE: In New York, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday night it’s up to a neutral arbiter to decide whether he should testify during an appeal of Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension.
“I don’t think that’s my decision,” Goodell said, saying the decision would instead be made by a former federal judge picked by the commissioner and the players’ union to lead the arbitration.
“I think Judge Jones is the one who ultimately is going to make the rules and determinations,” Goodell said. “I’ve been in meetings all day. That isn’t something that I’ve addressed.”
The union is appealing Ray Rice’s suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The former Baltimore Ravens running back was suspended after video of him hitting his then-fiancee in an elevator was publicly released.
GREEN LEAVES PRACTICE EARLY: In Cincinnati, Bengals receiver A.J. Green left practice during warmups on Wednesday after aggravating his injured right big toe.
Green has been bothered by the injury since the season opener. He missed most of a game against Atlanta the following week, but has played in the last two.
Green was going through warmup drills at the start of practice when he stopped, removed his right shoe and threw it to the ground angrily. He put the shoe back on and limped slightly as he walked to a cart and left practice.
Coach Marvin Lewis confirmed it was the same injury that has bothered him the last few weeks. He said the foot was being examined, but he had no further information.
SOURCE SAYS THOMAS FINED $8,286 FOR CHOP BLOCK: In Englewood, Colo., Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians didn’t want to talk about Julius Thomas’ chop block anymore and apparently neither did the Denver Broncos’ Pro Bowl tight end.
A person with knowledge of the penalty said Thomas was fined $8,286 for his chop block on Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell last weekend. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the fine hadn’t been announced yet by the NFL. ESPN first reported the fine, the first of Thomas’ four-year career.
ROACH PLACED ON SEASON-ENDING IR: In Alameda, Calif., the Oakland Raiders placed starting middle linebacker Nick Roach on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday after he was unable to recover from a concussion in the preseason.
Roach originally got hurt on Aug. 22 in the third exhibition game against Green Bay. He returned to practice on Sept. 3 on a limited basis but only took part in individual drills and he was never able to be cleared for contact. Now he is done for the season.