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Suspended Saints Players Eligible To Play Sunday

McKissic for the win

Chris

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ESPN: Suspended Saints Players Eligible To Play Sunday

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/8...ita-anthony-hargrove-overturned-appeals-panel

Bounty players' bans overturned


NEW ORLEANS -- The suspensions of Jonathan Vilma and three other players in the NFL's bounty investigation were lifted Friday by a three-member appeals panel and the league reinstated those players a few minutes later.

The panel said commissioner Roger Goodell did not have jurisdiction to hear the players' appeals of their punishment for their roles in the New Orleans Saints bounty program that paid cash bonuses for hits that injured opponents.

The ruling clears Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove to play this weekend.

"Consistent with the panel's decision, commissioner Goodell will, as directed, make an expedited determination of the discipline imposed for violating the league's pay-for-performance/bounty rule. Until that determination is made, the four players are reinstated and eligible to play starting this weekend," the NFL said in a statement.

League sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Goodell is likely to reach a new decision in the coming weeks, but it will not be before this weekend's games.

The panel, which described its decision as "cumbersome," said, "In our view the alleged bounty program was both an undisclosed agreement to provide compensation to players and an agreement to cause injury to opposing players," league sources told Schefter.

The panel's decision affects the players only, not suspended coaches Gregg Williams, Sean Payton and Joe Vitt. The panel did not overrule Goodell, but asked for clarification on the reasons for his discipline -- was it salary-cap related or conduct detrimental -- according to league sources.

"Victory is mine!!!! -stewie griffin," Vilma tweeted Friday afternoon.

Smith also tweeted: "Thank you to everyone involved in the process of this solution.. And everyone who supported us through this whole ordeal. #whodat."

If Vilma (Saints), Smith (Saints) and Fujita (Browns) are now on their respective teams' rosters Sunday, their salaraies will be guaranteed for the 2012 season. Hargrove was released by the Packers in the preseason.

The NFL Players Association and the four players had claimed in consolidated lawsuits that Goodell abused his authority and followed improper procedures in disciplining the players for a program that, according to NFL investigators, paid improper cash bonuses for tackles that injured opponents. The lawsuits sought to have the punishment handed down by Goodell thrown out. The arbitration ruling renders the lawsuits moot at this point.


"Great news and exciting to hear," Saints linebacker Scott Shanle told ESPN's Ed Werder. "It's been a long process that didn't involve a lot of facts. These guys have stood strong and stood by what was right. Glad it paid off with this ruling."

A team source previously told Werder that Vilma planned to attend Sunday's season opener against the Washington Redskins, but believed he was at least a week or two from being ready to play because of a knee injury.
 

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Lanky Livingston

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Of course they overturn it just in time for the Redskins game. I bet you a billion dollars that if the Saints were playing the Giants this week, the decision would have been delayed. Such BS.
 

Chris

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Of course they overturn it just in time for the Redskins game. I bet you a billion dollars that if the Saints were playing the Giants this week, the decision would have been delayed. Such BS.
Yeah, the timing was curious to me as well. I'm guessing that the panel had to decide prior to the start of the season though.
 

Ax

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1. It ain't over yet. The ball goes back to Heir Goodell. It's his move. I hope this is the beginning of his public smackdown. Hopefully Judge Doty will continue the fun. We'll see.

2. Great news for the players. I felt the whole bounty witch hunt was BS from the start.

3. Their respective teams would be beyond foolish to let any of them play this weekend. Injury being at a high risk. It would suck to get reinstated, and then have to miss the season because of trying to rush back onto the field.
 

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I have read a couple of places that Smith would play if reinstated but that Vilma is injured and likely heading to the PUP list. We will see if either thing happens though.
 

Fear The Spear

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3. Their respective teams would be beyond foolish to let any of them play this weekend. Injury being at a high risk. It would suck to get reinstated, and then have to miss the season because of trying to rush back onto the field.
I don't see that as an issue because I'd kind of expect multi-million dollar professionals to be wise enough to have worked out and stay in football shape during their suspension, even if they are not allowed to practice with the team.
 

Lanky Livingston

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Smith has been playing/practicing with the team all the way up until Monday, when the suspensions "officially" started.
 

Jimbo

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I guess all those Roger Goodell voodoo dolls down in New Orleans are actually working their juju. Hope they're also selling John Mara dolls. ;)
 

Goaldeje

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I see this going one of two ways. Either it will energize their team and give them a big "eff you" moment to the NFL, or it deflates Em a little, and removes the chip from their shoulder.

Personally, I think the former is more likely.

Oh, and **** Mara. Just because.
 

Lanky Livingston

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They're also given roster exemptions for Smith and Vilma. And, just for good measure, LB Barrett Ruud.

W....T....F????
 

Boone

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We just keep getting screwed. It's really not fair to suddenly make these guys available when we've spent all week game-planning for the roster we thought they'd have. I'm hoping none of these guys play week 1.
 

Fear The Spear

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This really isn't a bad thing.

Think of all the guys who thought they had jobs and will now be out in the cold...

This is a big change in personnel late into the week.

Not if what Lanky says, is correct......

They're also given roster exemptions for Smith and Vilma. And, just for good measure, LB Barrett Ruud.

W....T....F????
 

bird_1972

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I see this going one of two ways. Either it will energize their team and give them a big "eff you" moment to the NFL, or it deflates Em a little, and removes the chip from their shoulder.

Personally, I think the former is more likely.

Oh, and **** Mara. Just because.
Agree 100%.

As for Smith and/or Vilma playing, I don't really care. The Saints' D isn't what we have to worry about. They're not that good. It's Brees and their O.
 

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