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Last updated: February 16. 2013 10:39PM - 253 Views

New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma (51) is congratulated on a successful play during the morning practice session at the New Orleans Saints football training camp at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., July 26 2008. Vilma went from Pro Bowl linebacker to injured cast-off with the New York Jets. Now he's getting a new start with the Saints, who envision him playing a leadership role on a defense looking to improve from a poor showing last season. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma (51) is congratulated on a successful play during the morning practice session at the New Orleans Saints football training camp at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., July 26 2008. Vilma went from Pro Bowl linebacker to injured cast-off with the New York Jets. Now he's getting a new start with the Saints, who envision him playing a leadership role on a defense looking to improve from a poor showing last season. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
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NEW ORLEANS — The suspensions of four players in the NFL's bounty investigation have been lifted by a three-member appeals panel. The league reinstated those players a few minutes after Friday's ruling.


The panel said Commissioner Roger Goodell did not have jurisdiction to hear the players' appeals of their punishment for their roles in the New Orleans Saints bounty program that paid cash bonuses for hits that injured opponents.


While the ruling allows Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove to play immediately, it does not permanently void their suspensions.


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