"It's their cavalier interpretation of everything that's been way off. They clearly proceeded with a public smear campaign with very little regard for the truth."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could rule on the appeals of Fujita and the other players suspended because of their roles in the bounty program as early as Monday.
Saints linebacker Scott Shanle finds it hard to ignore the symmetry of the NFL portraying Fujita as a hypocrite on player-safety matters after Fujita had done the same thing to the league.
"When you look at Scott, who was here for one season [of the three spanned by the bounty probe], for him to get three games, I just felt like there had to be more of a personal issue with that," Shanle said. "When you look at how outspoken he is and a lot of the issues he tries to address, it probably doesn't sit well with the league."
Spokesman Greg Aiello said the NFL stands by its finding that Fujita gave "more than token amounts" of money to a pool that rewarded injury-producing hits called "cart-offs" and "knockouts."
Fujita was one of four current or former Saints suspended in the bounty probe. Two of them, Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith, still play for New Orleans. The other, Green Bay defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, left New Orleans after 2010. Fujita left after 2009, the first season covered by the investigation.
Browns players say Fujita challenged Goodell's answers to a range of questions, including how a lockout would affect players' health coverage when the commissioner visited the team in 2010.
"Scott wasn't scared to ask the tough questions," former Browns tight end Benjamin Watson said. "Scott wanted to make sure the commissioner owned up to all that stuff and . . . you could tell that Mr. Goodell wasn't comfortable answering some of those questions."
Fujita acknowledges he offered teammates cash for big plays, mainly because "that's the way it was done when I was a young player and I kind of looked at that as paying it forward." But Fujita contends he never contributed to team-organized pools.
In other NFL news:
* Santa Clara County surprised both the San Francisco 49ers and city of Santa Clara leaders by pulling $30 million in tax funds from the new 49ers stadium.
Sport Stops *
Strait of Dover won the $1 million Queen's Plate at Woodbine in Toronto, beating filly Irish Mission by 1 1/4 lengths in the first leg of the Canadian triple crown.
* Ferrari's Fernando Alonso won the European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain.
* Brittany Viola, in her third attempt to make the Olympic diving team, won the women's 10-meter platform in the U.S. Olympic Trials in Federal Way, Wash. Chris Colwill rallied from third place to win the men's 3-meter springboard.