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Did The Lions Appeal NFL's Tampering Punishment?

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When in Indianapolis for the 2011 NFL Combine, both Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and general manager Martin Mayhew were asked about the NFL finding them guilty of tampering. They were also asked about whether or not the Lions would file an appeal over the charge/punishment, but neither Schwartz nor Mayhew definitively said what their plans were. Schwartz came off as sounding like he wanted an appeal, calling the ruling incorrect, but Mayhew said the team was ready to move on.

On Saturday, Lions president Tom Lewand seemed to echo Mayhew's thoughts on the situation. "We're prepared to move forward under the directive that was announced by the league," said Lewand. According to Dave Birkett, Lewand did not say if an appeal was filed or not, though.

On the surface, this could easily be interpreted as an answer to the question posted in the headline. Chris McCosky felt that way, tweeting "case closed" in response to Lewand's comment. I'm not so sure, though. Perhaps I could be over-analyzing this, but all Lewand said was that the Lions are prepared to move forward with the punishment. He didn't say they are moving forward, but rather their preparations are based on the punishment that was handed out (i.e. having only five draft picks).

By reading into what Mayhew had to say in Indy, it didn't seem like the Lions were going to file an appeal, but one has to wonder why they won't say if they have or not. It's entirely possible that the Lions did file one and don't want it to be known in case the NFL upholds the punishment, as that would make them look guilty a second time. If the appeal was filed and the punishment is later reversed, however, then that would come out as a pleasant pre-draft surprise that shows the Lions weren't guilty.

Like I said before, I could just be over-analyzing everything, but to me this would only be set in stone one way or another if the Lions actually said whether or not they filed an appeal. Since they have yet to comment directly on that question, for me this isn't over just yet.