The NFL's hard line on Adrian Peterson held up.

The league-appointed arbitrator for Peterson's appeal affirmed the unpaid suspension until at least next spring, the final result of the child-abuse case that kept the Minnesota running back out of all but one game this season and widened the rift between the NFL and its players over the fairness of the disciplinary process.

The decision by Harold Henderson, a former league official, was announced Friday.

That means Peterson, though he avoided jail time and a felony conviction, has been fined more than $4.1 million as part of the punishment from the NFL. That's the cost of the six-game suspension that was issued Nov. 18 under the league's personal conduct policy. He will not be considered for reinstatement before April 15.

The NFL Players Association called Henderson's objectivity into question and said it was "considering immediate legal remedies" to the decision.

Peterson told ESPN that he has been so disappointed by the league's disciplinary process that he has considered retirement during his time away from the Vikings.

He said he has thought about getting into real estate and competing in the Olympics.

Cards down to 3d QB

Arizona quarterback Drew Stanton will not require surgery on his right knee, which he hurt in Thursday night's 12-6 win over St. Louis, coach Bruce Arians said. "We feel he definitely has a chance to be back this season. We just don't know when."

Asked whether Stanton could play in next week's NFC West showdown against Seattle, Arians said, "I wouldn't put it past him, but I would be surprised."

He would not disclose the injury. but multiple reports said Stanton, who replaced the injured Carson Palmer a month ago, has a sprained knee.

Arians said he hasn't decided whether Ryan Lindley or rookie Logan Thomas would start in Stanton's place.

Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali has been fined $16,537 for his hit on Stanton in Kansas City's 17-14 loss on Sunday, the league announced. The former Penn State star was assessed a 15-yard, roughing-the-passer penalty after hitting him below the knee.

Cowboys' Brent out?

While Josh Brent calls himself a game-time decision for Dallas' rematch with the Eagles, it's unlikely the 320-pound defensive tackle will take the field, given his injury came in the middle of the week and he's been unable to practice since, the Dallas Morning News reported. Brent is listed as doubtful.

Losing Brent will hurt the Cowboys' chances of corralling LeSean McCoy, who rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles' 33-10 win on Thanksgiving.

Bears coach apologizes

Chicago offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said he has apologized to Jay Cutler and other players following critical remarks he made to an NFL Network reporter.

Kromer admitted to frustration over Cutler failing to check out of running plays. The story suggested some Bears coaches had "buyer's remorse" after Cutler signed a contract extension following last season.

Kromer said he never considered resigning over the situation and apologized for making a "very poor decision." Cutler said he has forgiven Kromer and called it "a dead issue."

The Bears (5-8) will miss the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years.

Skins' McCoy to start

Colt McCoy has been dealing with a sprained neck, but Washington's quarterback took all of the first-team snaps Friday. He then went to see a specialist, who cleared him to start Sunday against the New York Giants.