Saints players' bounty suspensions overturned
NEW ORLEANS - An NFL appeals panel overturned the suspensions of four current and former Saints players accused of taking part in a team bounty program.
The panel ruled today that Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita would have their suspensions lifted. They were reinstated by the league shortly after the ruling.
The ruling found Commissioner Roger Goodell didn't have jurisdiction to hear the players' appeals of their punishment for their roles in the bounty program. The ruling allows the four to return to play, but does not permanently void the suspensions.
After the hearing, Vilma posted this response on Twitter: "Victory is mine!!! -stewie griffin"
Vilma was suspended for the entire 2012 regular season, and Smith had a four-game suspension from the Saints. Former Saints Hargrove and Fujita had eight-game and three-game suspensions, respectively.
Suspensions for the coaches accused of running or having knowledge of the bounty program were not part of this hearing.
Sports 2's Michael Cauble will have more on this ruling and its impact on the Saints tonight.