New York, NY (Sports Network) - Suspensions for the four players connected
in the New Orleans Saints "bounty" scandal have been overturned by a
collective bargaining agreement panel.
The ruling from the three-member panel on Friday will allow Saints linebacker
Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland Browns linebacker
Scott Fujita and free-agent defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove to start the
However, while the suspensions for the players were lifted shortly after the
ruling, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell can still suspend them if he can prove
that there was an intent to injure.
"Victory is mine!!!! -stewie griffin," Vilma tweeted Friday.
Smith also tweeted: "Thank you to everyone involved in the process of this
solution.. And everyone who supported us through this whole ordeal. #whodat."
Fujita and Hargrove played for New Orleans during the bounty program's
duration from 2009-2011 under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who has
been suspended indefinitely.
Vilma was originally banned for the entire 2012 regular season, Hargrove for
eight games, Smith four contests and Fujita three tilts.
The suspensions of Williams, coach Sean Payton (season-long ban), general
manager Mickey Loomis (eight games) and assistant head coach Joe Vitt (six
games) were not involved in the appeals process.
The Sports Network