Although both Tom Brady and Ezekiel Elliott lost their legal wars against the NFL, both secured important initial victories. They were permitted to keep playing while the lawsuits challenging their suspensions proceeded.

This experience has caused many to assume that, if the NFL Players Association files a lawsuit on behalf of Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson after (as expected) the NFL dramatically increases the six-game suspension imposed on Watson by Judge Sue L. Robinson, Watson will be available for the regular-season opener at Carolina, and all other games until his case is resolved. That’s unlikely to happen here, for two reasons.