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Jonathan Vilma suspension reduced -- or maybe not

August 06, 2012|By Chuck Schilken
  • New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma arrives at federal court in New Orleans.
New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma arrives at federal court… (Ted Jackson / The Times-Picayune…)

New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma may or may not have a settlement offer from the NFL for a reduced suspension if he drops his lawsuit against Commissioner Roger Goodell.

It depends on whose anonymous source you choose to believe.

Vilma has been suspended for the all of the 2012 season for his alleged involvement in a bounty program. He has filed a civil lawsuit against Goodell for defamation of character.

Citing "sources familiar with the discussions," ESPN is reporting that late last week the league made an offer to reduce Vilma's suspension to eight games as part of court-ordered settlement talks between the NFL, theNFL Players Assn. and legal representatives of all four Saints players who received suspensions for their alleged involvement in the bounty program.

But NFL.com has a source of its own -- one that is "close to the situation." That person told the website that there is no such settlement offer in place. But the source also added that a proposal of some sort still might be made in the future.

League spokesman Greg Aiello actually went on the record, offering the breaking news that the NFL had no comment on ESPN's report.

[Updated at 9:00 a.m.: “Today’s report about a settlement offer by the league to Jonathan Vilma is completely inaccurate," Aiello said in a league statement on Monday. "No such settlement offer has been made. We will continue to respect the court proceedings on this matter and have no further comment at this time.”]

That might be all we get until Friday, when both sides are scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan. 

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