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Four players suspended from the New Orleans Saints due to their connection to the team’s bounty scandal were reinstated on Friday.
The suspensions were lifted by a three-member appeals panel, which ruled that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did not have jurisdiction to hear the punishment appeal of the players-linebacker Jonathan VIlma, defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita and free-agent defensive linesman Anthony Hargrove-for their roles in the Saints’ program which paid cash bonuses for hits that injured rival players, notes The Guardian
Although the four players may resume their careers by playing in the season opening games Sunday, although their suspensions have not been permanently voided.
But Vilma may not return to the field immediately as he is currently suffering from knee problems, reports The Associated Press.
Goodell will reportedly make an ‘expedited determination’ of the punishment imposed for violating the bounty rule, according to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.
"Until that determination is made, the four players are reinstated and eligible to play starting this weekend," Aiello said.