The bounty appeal hearings before former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue have concluded. The testimony and evidence, we’re told, was eye-opening. A ruling is expected next week.
That’s when Tagliabue will announce whether and to what extent he will uphold the suspensions imposed on Saints defensive end Will Smith (four games), Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma (the remainder of the 2012 season), Browns linebacker Scott Fujita (one game), and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove (two games, served after he signs with a new team).
Per a source with knowledge of the proceedings, written briefs will be submitted to Tagliabue as soon as Friday. More paperwork also will be filed with Judge Helen Berrigan, who will decide whether to suspend or overturn any suspensions imposed by the league. If Tagliabue upholds the suspensions in full or in part, Judge Berrigan is expected to issue a prompt decision as to whether the suspensions will be tabled while a final decision on their validity is reached.
The source promises that PFT will have a “field day” with the transcripts from the Tagliabue hearings, which the parties have agreed to keep confidential until after Tagliabue issues a ruling.
So while it’s still not known when the finish line will be reached, we’re getting closer. And things soon will get a lot more interesting.
Or, as the case may be, less uninteresting.