Vilma takes bounty matter back to federal court
3 From NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport: Sources: The #Saints plan to place LB Jonathan Vilma (knee) on Injured Reserve designated to return Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 3, 2013 10:28 AM ET UPDATE: Tuesday, Sept. 3 Jonathan Vilma is not expected to be ready for the Saints’ season opener against the Atlanta Falcons, according to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports. … [Jonathan Vilma] won’t play Sunday in the Saints’ opener against the Atlanta Falcons , a source told FOX Sports. And there’s even worse news for the 31-year-old Vilma, who is recovering from a procedure on his ailing knee: He’s likely to miss at least a few games, per the source. Garafolo also passed along a statement from Saints head coach Sean Payton discussing previous reports of Vilma possibly playing in Week 1: ‘I think it’s speculation right now,’ Saints coach Sean Payton said Monday when asked about a report that stated Vilma could be ready to play Sunday. ‘We’ll see.
Jonathan Vilma ready to play again
The league has sworn statements from Williams and Cerullo saying Vilma offered $10,000 to anyone who knocked quarterback Brett Favre out of the NFC championship game at the end of the 2009 season. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued the initial suspensions, which also included a full-season ban for Saints head coach Sean Payton. Lawsuits brought by Vilma and the NFL Players Association to challenge Goodell’s handling of the case, including his decision in October to appoint Tagliabue as the arbitrator for the appeals, are pending in federal court in New Orleans. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan gave the parties until Monday to answer questions about whether the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement prevents a commissioner from handing out discipline for legal contact, and whether the CBA’s passages about detrimental conduct are “ambiguous, hence unenforceable.” In March, the NFL announced that its investigation showed the Saints put together a bounty pool of up to $50,000 to reward game-ending injuries inflicted on opponents. “Knockouts” were worth $1,500 and “cart-offs” $1,000 with payments doubled or tripled for the playoffs, the league said.
LB Jonathan Vilma has a strong message for his coach
Favre was able to finish the game, but the Saints won in overtime en route to the NFL title. Fujita, the NFL said, “pledged a significant amount of money to the prohibited pay-for-performance/bounty pool” during that season’s playoffs. Smith, according to the NFL, “pledged significant sums to the program pool.” The league said Hargrove “actively obstructed the league’s 2010 investigation into the program by being untruthful to investigators.” He also “actively participated in the program while a member of the Saints,” the league said, adding that he eventually “submitted a signed declaration to the league that established not only the existence” of the Saints’ program, but that he knew about and participated in it. Vilma will miss out on $1.6 million in base salary in 2012, while Fujita stands to lose more than $640,000, Hargrove more than $385,000, and Smith more than $190,000. Some of their contracts were restructured this offseason, perhaps in anticipation of the punishments. The Saints, Browns and Packers already have made personnel moves that could help fill the gaps.
Saints’ Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith attend ex-coach Gregg Williams’ bounty hearing
Really, his legs feel good. It’s all about angles and timing.” Vitt added that Vilma, starting at weakside linebacker and playing some in nickel packages, took a full allotment of snaps in practice this week. In three games, Vilma has tallied 12 tackles (six solo), including two stops for losses against the Eagles. “He expects and we expect he will have one of his better games of the year this week, which we’re going to need,” Vitt said. The Saints (3-5) can’t afford a loss on Sunday if they hope to rally from an 0-4 start and make a late-season push for the playoffs. “Even if we were 1-7,” Vilma said, “just the fact that I’m here playing, I’m eager to suit up.” Vilma missed all of the offseason minicamps and organized team activities, then all of training camp after knee surgery. But the bigger threat to his availability came from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who gave Vilma the harshest discipline of any player linked to the bounty scandal — a full year.
Sean Payton: ‘Jonathan Vilma could practise next week’
6.0) when Vilma was on the field. — ESPN Stats & Information “I’ll be allowed to practice, I’ll be allowed to play versus Tampa Bay [on Sunday],” Vilma said, according to WVUE-TV in New Orleans. The Saints, however, currently have “no idea” whether Vilma will be activated off the PUP list to make his season debut against the Buccaneers, a team source told ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder. The source said the current plan is to have him practice this week for the first time and evaluate his readiness before determining whether to activate him from the exempt list. Saints interim coach Aaron Kromer declined to say whether Vilma would be activated for the game against Tampa Bay when asked about the linebacker’s status during Kromer’s news conference Monday. Vilma was suspended for one season for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal, but the penalty was vacated on a technicality. However, Goodell has reinstated the suspension, and Vilma has appealed, along with Will Smith , Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita .
Jonathan Vilma having knee surgery
The head coach told reporters: “He is progressing. We kind of look at it day-to-day, but that Monday coming back would be a potential day we would look at. I am optimistic he is going to be able to. “It is kind of a bonus day for us. The first full day where you guys will be back will be on that Wednesday. Any time you have that extra day, we typically try to get in a bonus day on Monday. “Tuesday the players will be off and then we would start up on that Wednesday.
Jonathan Vilma vows to “fight” bounty suspension
None of the four players’ suspensions are currently being enforced, but that could change as early as next week. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has scheduled the players’ appeal hearings for Oct. 23. The players want U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan to begin considering their cases now so she may be ready to rule by the time the NFL’s appeal’s process concludes. Vilma’s latest filing said Goodell conducted a “farcical review” of his previously overturned disciplinary action before ruling last week that the Saints linebacker would remain suspended for the season.
8 regular-season opener against the Atlanta Falcons . Saints coach Sean Payton said Thursday night it remains unclear how long Vilma will be sidelined. “We’ll have him back and we’ll kind of go from there,” Payton said. Vilma, 31, has missed six of the past eight practice sessions and did not participate in the first preseason game. The team has not revealed what Vilma’s injury is, and Payton said Wednesday he wasn’t going to discuss the situations of any injured players. The 31-year-old Vilma has had numerous surgeries on his left knee during the past two seasons.