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Panel overturns players suspensions in Saints "bounty" scandal ruling

New Orleans SaintsFootballRoger GoodellAnthony HargroveScott FujitaMickey Loomis

NFL statement in response to the decision: "Consistent with the panel’s decision, Commissioner Goodell will, as directed, make an expedited determination of the discipline imposed for violating the NFL’s pay-for-performance/bounty rule. Until that determination is made, the four players are reinstated and eligible to play starting this weekend."

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith, along with former Saints Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita - who were all suspended for their parts in the Saints "bounty" scandal - have had their suspensions overturned by a a collective bargaining agreement panel on Friday.

The panel ruled that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell can reconsider discipline "only if there is evidence of intent to injure beyond just a performance pool" according to Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter.

Vilma was suspended by Goodell for the entire 2012 season and Smith received a 4-game suspension. Fujita and Hargrove were suspended for three and eight games, respectively.

The decision does not affect the coaches who were suspended, Sean Payton (suspended for the 2012 season), Gregg Williams (suspended indefinitely), and Joe Vitt (six regular season games), or Saints general manager Mickey Loomis (eight regular season games).

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