On Friday, the four players suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell for involvement in the bounty program filed an appeal with Commissioner Roger Goodell. On Monday, they’ll file paperwork with someone they regard as slightly more impartial.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove will file pre-emptively before Judge Helen Berrigan a motion to block the suspensions until the legal challenges to Goodell’s eventual decision is finally resolved.
Judge Berrigan, who operates in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, was considering various lawsuits arising from the suspensions. After an internal appeals panel vacated the suspensions, Judge Berrigan retained jurisdiction over the cases.
The move, if successful, will prevent the players and their lawyers from having to move quickly if/when Goodell upholds the suspensions and tells the players that they must immediately begin serving their suspensions. By pulling the cord on the judicial lawnmower now, they’ll be in position to have a ruling in time to preserve their ability to play while the legal challenge proceeds.
Per the source, the paperwork will include new allegations regarding the overall process that has resulted in the suspensions.