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Four Saints Players Suspended for Bounty Program, Including Browns LB Scott Fujita

Browns LB Scott Fujita has been suspended for three games.
Browns LB Scott Fujita has been suspended for three games.

Besides the fact that linebacker Scott Fujita is getting up their and age and has finished the past two seasons on the injured reserve, one of the reasons I thought the Cleveland Browns might draft a linebacker fairly high in this year's draft was the risk that Fujita would be suspended. The league came down hard on the Saints organization about a month ago, and player punishments were supposed to be next on the agenda. Today, the league announced that the following four players have been suspended:

  • DL Anthony Hargrove - suspended 8 games, without pay
  • DE Will Smith - suspended 4 games, without pay
  • LB Scott Fujita - suspended 3 games, without pay
  • LB Jonathan Vilma - suspended effectively immediately, to be re-instated after Super Bowl 2013

Players will have the opportunity to appeal their suspension. I guess you could say that Fujita "got off easy" considering what happened to the other players. Here is what the league said regarding the justification for Fujita's suspension:

The record established that Fujita, a linebacker, pledged a significant amount of money to the prohibited pay-for-performance/bounty pool during the 2009 NFL Playoffs when he played for the Saints. The pool to which he pledged paid large cash rewards for "cart-offs" and "knockouts," plays during which an opposing player was injured.

Fujita can still participate in all offseason programs, training camp, and the preseason. Right now, linebacker Kaluka Maiava, who filled in for Fujita at the end of last season, would be favored to start those first three regular season games.