(NEW ORLEANS) — The NFL has offered to reduce the year-long suspension of New Orleans Saints lineback Jonathan Vilma to eight games for the 2012 season, according to sources familiar with the discussions.
Ongoing settlement talks involve the NFL, the NFL Players Association and the legal representatives of the four suspended players. The players were suspended for allegedly participating in the Saints’ bounty program during that lasted from 2009-2011.
The other three players suspended by the league that could have their suspensions reduced are Saints defensive end Will Smith (four games), Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove (eight games), and Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita (three games). Hargrove and Fujita both played for the Saints when this bounty scandal allegedly took place.
The offer from the NFL is contingent on Vilma dropping a civil lawsuit which charges league commissioner Roger Goodell with defamation of character.
Talks are expected to continue throughout the day Monday.
The Saints opened their preseason slate with a 17-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night.
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Stephan Rockefeller, EastIdahoNews.com
James Hanlon, CNN