Browns linebacker Scott Fujita was scheduled to discuss the New Orleans Saints’ bounty case Tuesday with the NFL, but the meeting was canceled.
Fujita did not travel to New York to talk to league officials because he wanted to receive treatment on his left knee, an NFL Players Association spokesman said. Fujita planned to participate in a videoconference instead, but the NFL wanted to have a face-to-face conversation, the spokesman said.
“Scott is committed to a just and fair resolution in this matter, but he is also committed to his teammates and his club,” the union said in a statement emailed to the Beacon Journal. “He is still undergoing treatment for a knee injury and is preparing for this week’s game. We scheduled a videoconference with the league but they informed us that they were only interested in an in-person meeting.”
Fujita’s meeting with the league will be rescheduled, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported.
The NFL suspended Fujita for three games and accused him of contributing money to a pool that allegedly paid his former Saints teammates for intentionally injuring opponents. Fujita has repeatedly denied the allegations, insisting he paid teammates for big plays like sacks and interceptions but not for trying to hurt opposing players.
A three-member appeals panel lifted the suspensions of Fujita and the other three players disciplined in the bounty scandal Sept. 7, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell might still reissue punishments. Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma met with Goodell on Monday in New York, and Saints defensive end Will Smith and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove did the same Tuesday.
Fujita, a member of the Saints from 2006-09 who signed with the Browns in 2010, did not play in Week One because the suspension forced him to miss an entire week of practice while he was coming back from a left knee injury he suffered Aug. 10 in the preseason opener. He made his 2012 regular-season debut Sunday and started at strongside linebacker in the Browns’ 34-27 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
“It was fun,” Fujita said after the game. “Obviously it would’ve been great to come back with a win. But it was good to come back, be out here with the guys. I felt great. I didn’t feel too winded or anything. It was just good to be back playing football.”
It remains to be seen how much football Fujita will be permitted to play this season. Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams signed an affidavit saying Vilma placed a $10,000 bounty on former quarterback Brett Favre, but La Canfora reported Fujita’s name did not appear in the declaration.
Browns running back Trent Richardson is among five finalists for the Pepsi Max NFL Rookie of the Week award. Richardson, the third overall pick in this year’s draft, had 19 carries for 109 yards (5.7 average) and a touchdown to go along with four catches for 36 yards and a touchdown Sunday against the Bengals.
St. Louis Rams punter Johnny Hekker, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson are the other nominees. Fans can vote for one of the five players until 3 p.m. Friday by visiting www.NFL.com/rookies.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/browns.abj.