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New Orleans Saints Players Bounty Suspensions Overturned

Joe Murphy, Getty Images
Joe Murphy, Getty Images

The suspensions of four players in the NFL’s bounty investigation have been lifted Friday by a three-member appeals panel.

The league reinstated New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and free-agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove shortly after the decision was announced.

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.

“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,” the NFL said in a statement. “Until that determination is made, the four players are reinstated and eligible to play starting this weekend.”

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