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Tagliabue overturns Saints suspensions

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 11, 2012 at 12:57 p.m.

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This Oct. 21, 2012 file photo shows New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma on the bench at an NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa, Florida. More than nine months after the NFL first disclosed its bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints, four players will finally get a ruling on whether their initial suspensions are upheld, reduced or thrown out.

— Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has overturned the suspensions of four current and former New Orleans Saints players in the league’s bounty investigation of the club.

Tagliabue, however, found that the players’ conduct was detrimental to the league. He says they participated in a performance pool that rewarded key plays — including hard tackles — that could justify fines.

But the former commissioner said Tuesday that “this entire case has been contaminated by the coaches and others in the Saints’ organization.”

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma initially had been suspended the whole season, while Saints defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove received shorter suspensions.

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