Last updated: February 19. 2013 8:26PM - 181 Views

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NEW ORLEANS — The latest round of appeal hearings in the NFL's bounty investigation have concluded with appearances by former Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress, Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt and linebacker Jonathan Vilma.


Vilma said his appearance went well but declined further comment citing a request for confidentiality by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who has been appointed to oversee the proceedings. There were also several days of witness appearances in Washington, D.C., last week.


The hearings were scheduled to conclude in New Orleans by Tuesday, but ended Monday evening after about 10 hours of testimony from the three witnesses.


Tagliabue had informed attorneys representing all parties that he hoped to rule on the appeals of Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith and two other players shortly after the hearings conclude.


A person familiar with the situation says Tagliabue expects to rule by early next week, meaning Vilma and Smith expect to play Sunday against the New York Giants. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of Tagliabue's directive.


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued the initial suspensions.

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