Goodell to meet with bounty players
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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and four players whose suspensions in connection with the bounty investigation were recently lifted by an appeals panel have agreed to new meetings on the matter.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday no specific dates have been set for the meetings. Peter Ginsberg, an attorney for Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, said his client hoped to meet with the commissioner by early next week.
The NFL Players Association, which is representing Saints defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita, and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, did not immediately comment.
Goodell is reconsidering whether to hand down revised suspensions for the four players who had been punished in an alleged pay-for-pain pool offering cash bonuses for hits that injured opponents.
Ginsberg said Vilma’s meeting would not be considered a hearing, but would be more akin to preliminary fact-finding meetings that occur at the outset of the disciplinary process outlined by the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement.
‘‘We expect to meet with commissioner Goodell and hopefully have a full, honest exchange of information and come to a just resolution,’’ Ginsberg said.
He was not sure whether Vilma would meet with Goodell individually or at the same time as the other three players represented by the NFLPA.
The three-member panel that lifted the four players’ suspensions on Friday did not permanently void them or address the merits of the bounty probe. Rather, it asked Goodell to start the disciplinary process over after ruling it was unclear whether he followed proper procedures in disciplining the players the first time.
Smith was able to return to action for the Saints’ regular season opener on Sunday, a 40-32 loss to the Redskins. He was the only of the four reinstated players who took the field. Fujita sat out after not practicing the week leading up to Cleveland’s opening 17-16 loss to Philadelphia. Hargrove is not with a team and Vilma is still working his way back from offseason left knee surgery.
The Saints placed Vlima on the physically unable to perform list, meaning he cannot play at least through the first six games, even if he receives no new suspension.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said big-play receiver Jacoby Ford will undergo surgery on his injured left foot and miss significant time, and the Raiders must find a contingency at long snapper after a concussion to Pro Bowler Jon Condo played a major role in the team’s 22-14 loss to San Diego on Monday.
Backup long snapper Travis Goethel rolled two snaps back to punter Shane Lechler, who couldn’t get a kick off on either try. Lechler also had a punt blocked after lining up closer to the line of scrimmage than usual. The three miscues led to three field goals for San Diego. and left Allen lamenting that he didn’t give Goethel more work in practice at long snapping.
Goethel hadn’t snapped in a game since high school and got only limited work before practices before being thrown into a game on national television.
‘‘That falls on me,’’ Allen said. ‘‘I’ve got to do a better job of making sure we’re prepared for all those different situations.’’
In other Raiders news, the team finalized a contract extension with fullback Marcel Reece. Terms were not disclosed. Reece had been slated to make $540,000 this season.
Bills ink White
The Bills signed running back Johnny White to the 53-man roster. White, who was selected in the fifth round in 2011, has played in 12 games for the Bills but was released Aug. 31. White will fill the roster spot of wide receiver David Nelson, who was placed on injured reserve this week. Nelson will miss the rest of the season after tearing a ligament in his right knee during Buffalo’s 48-28 loss at the New York Jets in the opener . . . The Jets waived wide receiver Patrick Turner, and signed linebacker Ricky Sapp to the practice squad. The Jets also released cornerback LeQuan Lewis from the practice squad Tuesday . . . The Chiefs waived linebacker Cameron Sheffield to make roster space for linebacker Tamba Hali, who was suspended for Week 1 for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy . . . The Redskins signed long snapper Justin Snow to replace Nick Sundberg, who was put on injured reserve after breaking his left arm in Sunday’s win over the Saints. Snow spent the past 12 seasons with the Colts . . . The Cowboys released tight end Colin Cochart now that concerns about the health of seven-time Pro Bowl Jason Witten (spleen) are no longer in question . . . The Colts signed offensive tackle Bradley Sowell from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad. The 6-foot-7-inch, 320-pound rookie was signed by the Bucs as an undrafted free agent in April. He played in 49 college games at Mississippi and was a third-team All-SEC selection in 2010 . . . Thousands of family and friends turned out in Baltimore for the funeral of former Browns and Ravens owner Art Modell, including current and former players, Goodell, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. He was eulogized by the Ravens’ Ray Lewis.