Player appeals to be heard June 18

The four players suspended in the New Orleans Saints "bounty" scandal will have their appeals heard by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on June 18, NFL.com reported Wednesday, citing sources.

Saints linebacker Jon Vilma was suspended for the entire 2012 season because the league determined he helped ex-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams operate the bounty program -- which offered cash rewards for injuring opponents -- between the 2009 and 2011 campaigns.

Vilma has also filed a defamation lawsuit against Goodell in federal court.

Defensive end Anthony Hargrove, who is now with Green Bay, was suspended for eight games. Saints defensive end Will Smith was handed a four-game ban and current Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita was hit with a three-game suspension.

All of the players have denied paying or receiving money in the scheme.

The appeals could result in reduced or modified suspensions, according to the report, although the NFL has strongly stood behind its evidence against the players.
 

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