NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has altered the suspensions of three of the four players who were disciplined as a result of the league’s investigation into the Saints’ bounty program.
The player who got the best result was Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, who already had the shortest suspension and has now had the largest reduction to his suspension: Fujita’s suspension has been reduced from three games to one, the league has announced.
Defensive end Anthony Hargrove’s suspension has been reduced from eight games to seven games. Hargrove, who is currently a free agent, will be credited for having served his suspension during the first five games of this season. If he signs with a team, he will have to serve the final two games of the suspension before he can play for that team.
For Jonathan Vilma, who was suspended for the entire year, the suspension remains unchanged in the sense that he will not be permitted to play at all this season. But the NFL has altered Vilma’s suspension by allowing him to collect his pay for spending the first six weeks of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. The NFL had previously planned to suspend Vilma without pay for all 17 weeks of the season.
Saints defensive end Will Smith was the only player whose suspension wasn’t changed at all: His four-game suspension remains in place.
It’s still possible that the players will continue to fight this discipline, and that the issue is not over. But for now, this is what Goodell views as a compromise solution.