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NFL Releases Part Of Evidence Against Suspended Players From Bounty Case

Saints defensive end awaits Monday's appeal of his four-game suspension for involvement in an alleged bounty program (Photo: Parker Waters).Saints defensive end awaits Monday's appeal of his four-game suspension for involvement in an alleged bounty program (Photo: Parker Waters).

The NFL turned over portions of evidence on Friday to the players union regarding reasoning for the suspension of four players for the New Orleans Saints' bounty program.

"We have followed the procedures set forth in the CBA on appeals of commissioner discipline," league spokesman Greg Aiello said.

Current Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith, Green Bay defensive end Anthony Hargrove and Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita will have their appeals heard Monday by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Out of what ProFootballTalk reports as a 50,000-page file of evidence held by the league, less than 200 pages of information which includes an email from Mike Ornstein containing the reference to the alleged $5,000 bounty on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Audio/video evidence from the hits on Brett Favre during the Saints' NFL title game win over the Minnesota Vikings was also provided by the league, but the NFL did not release the alleged 'ledger' recording bounty earnings during the program the Saints supposedly had under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from 2009-11.

Goodell suspended Saints head coach Sean Payton for the season, assistant coach Joe Vitt for six games, general manager Mickey Loomis for eight games and the aforementioned Williams indefinitely for their knowledge and alleged cover-up of the bounty scheme. None of the four non-players will be present Monday at the appeal, reports The USA Today.

Vilma was suspended for the 2012 season while fellow Saints captain Smith received a four game ban. Among the former Saints defenders, Hargrove was suspended for eight games and Fujita for three.

Two grievances filed on behalf of the players with arbitrators that challenged Goodell's authority to impose punishments in the bounty cases proved unsuccessful recently.

 

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