Ray Rice, his wife, Janay, and his attorneys have had their say in front of an arbitrator. Adrian Peterson's punishment - reckless assault of a child resulting in a $4,000 fine and 80 hours of community service - has been settled in a Texas court.

Now we wait.

Rice's appeal of his indefinite suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will drag on a while longer. Barbara Jones, the former federal judge who served as the arbitrator, still has to make a ruling, and that could take a week or maybe even two.

Even when Jones does rule and even if she rules in favor of the former Baltimore Ravens running back, Rice's case is complicated. He does not have a team to return to and it could be difficult for him to find one based on his decline in productivity last season and the circus that would follow him to his next destination.

The right thing for the Ravens to do if Jones rules in Rice's favor would be to re-sign the running back and let him sit out the remainder of this season as he and his wife attempt to heal from all the harm that was done in that Atlantic City casino elevator and in the days since then. That would show that the team cares as much about the couple as it does its own reputation and bottom line.

A decision on Peterson's future should be swift, but apparently it will not be. His crime was deemed a misdemeanor and you can find plenty of examples across all walks of life in which people have remained employed after being convicted of something less than a felony.

I don't believe what Peterson did to his 4-year-old child should be a misdemeanor crime, but that's what a court of law decided and that should factor into how the NFL deals with the Minnesota Vikings running back. Peterson was never suspended by the league or the Vikings. Instead, he was placed on the commissioner's exempt list, which meant he was paid as he dealt with the charges that he used a tree branch to beat his own child.

The NFL's immediate reaction to the resolution of Peterson's court case was none at all. He remains on the commissioner's exempt list as the league decides how it wants to deal with the running back's case under the NFL's personal conduct policy.

Essentially, Goodell and the league still have a big mess on their hands because the commissioner was allowed to randomly mete out punishment under the personal conduct policy. That is going to change at some point in the near future. Player punishments should be and likely will be ruled on by a committee that does not include the commissioner. In the meantime, there is still a lot to clean up before then and it goes beyond just Rice and Peterson. Other players - Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy is one - also are awaiting rulings from the league about their situations.

There is nothing wrong with a personal conduct policy and there is nothing wrong with giving players who have done despicable things a second chance.

The first player who never faced criminal charges but was still suspended for his personal conduct by the commissioner was Ben Roethlisberger. The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback was accused of the sexual assault of a 20-year-old Georgia college woman in 2010, but no charges were ever brought against him. The woman's interview tapes released by police were every bit as disturbing as the dogfighting evidence that led to the conviction of former Eagles quarterback Michael Vick in 2007. Roethlisberger also reached an out-of-court settlement on a 2008 sexual assault accusation involving a Nevada woman.

The quarterback was suspended for six games, which was later reduced to four because Goodell decided that's the way it should be. Roethlisberger seemingly has made the most of his second chance. Rice and Peterson deserve the same chance.

The NFL should let them return and implement a better, more consistent plan for discipline.

Joe Tweeter

If you are not already, you should start following former Eagles president Joe Banner on Twitter. His user name is @JoeBanner13 and many of his tweets are an insightful and interesting look at the NFL.

Here's an example of two from last week.

On Mark Sanchez's taking over for Nick Foles at quarterback: "I think the eagles will be fine. Need better O line play, but this is the most QB friendly offense I have seen, as long as QB is smart."

On Brandon Weeden's playing for Tony Romo last week in Dallas' game against Arizona: "Cowboys confident in Weeden vs. team that blitz's a lot. If they are right, they know something that will shock me."

It's important to note that Weeden played for Cleveland when Banner was the team president. Joe, your grammar needs some work, but keep on tweeting.

Is Romo ready?

Tony Romo is expected to return from his back injury Sunday, when the Cowboys play the Jacksonville Jaguars in London, and you have to wonder about that decision.

The Cowboys should be able to beat the lowly Jags even with Weeden at quarterback and they should have left Romo at home to continue his recovery. That would have given Romo three full weeks of rest because Dallas has a Week 11 bye.

It will be interesting to see how effective Romo is in his return. Back injuries almost always seem to get worse rather than better.

Weekend's Best


San Francisco at New Orleans

After a home loss to the Rams, the 49ers are in danger of falling below .500 after nine games for the first time since 2010. They are the only team in the NFL with a lower touchdown percentage in the red zone than the Eagles. With two straight wins, the 4-4 Saints are on top of the NFC South and have three straight games in their home dome, where they have won 11 in a row.


St. Louis at Arizona

The Rams are 3-5 overall but 2-1 in the NFC West, the division many believe is the best in the NFL. This is their first meeting with the Cardinals, who are 7-1 for the first time since 1974, when they were coached by Don Coryell and still playing in St. Louis. The Cardinals may have more depth at wide receiver than any team in the NFL.


Chicago at Green Bay

The Bears have the NFL's 21st-ranked defense and are allowing 29.2 points per game since the start of last season, which explains why they are 3-5 and likely in for a long night against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Rodgers has thrown 19 TD passes and just three interceptions and has a league-best 113.6 passer rating.


Carolina at Eagles

The Panthers are 1-5-1 since placing defensive end Greg Hardy on the exempt list until his domestic violence case is resolved. They allowed a total of 21 points in the two games Hardy played and have allowed an average of 30.7 per game since. Mark Sanchez, meanwhile, gets his first start since 2012 and a chance to fuel the Eagles' quarterback debate.