Vilma appeals suspension in Saints bounty case

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has appealed his season-long suspension under the NFL’s bounty investigation, which named him as a ringleader of the cash-for-hits system.

In papers filed Monday, Vilma argues that Commissioner Roger Goodell should not hear the appeal and asks for a delay in the process until the matter of who should decide on it has been settled through NFL Players Association grievances filed last week.

Vilma’s appeal states the NFL has not presented evidence linking him to a system in which players were paid to injure opponents. It asks the league to provide documentation, including witness statements.

Vilma was one of four players given suspensions of various lengths in the NFL’s bounty probe, along with Saints defensive end Will Smith and former Saints Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.