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Before Goodell Meets With Saints Players About Lifted Suspensions, He Will Meet With Vilma

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File photo of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma. (credit: Getty Images)

File photo of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma. (credit: Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will meet Monday with Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma to discuss Vilma’s suspension that was temporarily lifted last week.

A person familiar with the plans tells The Associated Press that Vilma will be in New York to present his case in the Saints’ bounties scandal for which he was suspended for the 2012 season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting has not been announced.

Vilma and three other players were suspended, but an appeals panel ruled last Friday that Goodell must clarify his earlier rulings to ensure no part of his decisions was based on salary cap violations. Goodell still could reinstate the suspensions to Vilma, New Orleans defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove for participating in a pay-for-injure program that violates the league’s detrimental conduct policy.

Smith, Fujita and Hargrove are expected to meet with Goodell on Tuesday.

Only Smith played on Sunday, when the Saints lost to Washington. Vilma was placed on the physically unable to perform list, while Fujita sat out Cleveland’s loss to Philadelphia with a leg injury. Hargrove was cut by Green Bay during the preseason.

Players and coaches implicated in the bounty pool have testified under oath in a related federal court case they never intended to injure opposing players. The appeals panel ruled that Goodell could suspend the four players as long as the discipline was attributable to conduct detrimental to the NFL. Special master Stephen Burbank has the jurisdiction to rule on “undisclosed compensation,” which violates the salary cap.

“It does not require the commissioner to take additional evidence or to “reweigh” the evidence currently in the record,” the NFL said in a statement Thursday. “The panel did not take issue with any findings that were made in the course of the investigation, did not exonerate anyone involved, and did not say that the commissioner ‘overstepped his authority.'”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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