New Orleans Saints' Jonathan Vilma appeals punishment, slams NFL commissioner Roger Goodell

Roger Goodell is hearing appeals dealing with the Saints' bounty.
Roger Goodell is hearing appeals dealing with the Saints' bounty.
Posted: June 20, 2012

NEW YORK - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell heard appeals from four players in the New Orleans Saints bounty case, amid complaints that the process is unfair and that the league didn't prove its case.

Goodell met Monday at NFL headquarters with Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who is suspended for the 2012 season, and defensive end Will Smith, who has been docked for four games; Green Bay defensive end Anthony Hargrove, suspended for eight games; and Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita (three games).

Vilma's attorney, Peter Ginsberg, called the hearing "a sham" and said Goodell failed to present the evidence on which he based his decision.

"Roger Goodell has taken three months to tear down what I built over eight years. It's tough to swallow. I have been linked to a bounty and it simply is not true," Vilma said.

"I don't know how I can get a fair process when he is the judge, jury and executioner. You're assuming it will be fair, but it's not."

LT retires

Joined by his family and several former teammates, LaDainian Tomlinson ended his brilliant 11-year NFL career the same way he started it - with the San Diego Chargers. The former running back signed a one-day contract with the team then announced his retirement.

"It wasn't because I didn't want to play anymore. It was simply time to move on," Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson rushed for 13,684 yards, fifth all-time, and scored 162 touchdowns, third-most ever. His 145 rushing touchdowns are second-most ever.

Noteworthy

R.C. Owens, the former 49ers wide receiver whose impressive leaping ability earned him the nickname "Alley Oop," has died. He was 78. The team said he had been living in Manteca, about 75 miles east of San Francisco, when he died on Sunday.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a key to the settlement of last year's lockout even though his wife, Myra, was dying from cancer, has won the George Halas Award.

The award is given by the Professional Football Writers of America to a player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed. Kraft, the 43d winner, is the first owner to be honored.

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