All four players punished in the NFL’s bounty investigation have filed appeals with the league. People familiar with the situation say the players have asked Commissioner Roger Goodell to remove himself as arbitrator because they do not believe he can be impartial.
One of the people also says New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma expects to play at Tampa Bay on Oct. 21 while his appeal is pending. The people spoke to the Associated Press on Friday on condition of anonymity because the appeals were filed as private documents with the league.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed Friday that all four players had filed appeals, but said the league would decline comment on the substance of those documents.
This marks the second round of appeals by the players.
About a month ago, a three-member appeal panel created by the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement vacated initial disciplinary rulings handed down by Goodell. Then Tuesday, the commissioner upheld his initial suspensions of Vilma and Saints defensive end Will Smith, and revised his suspensions of Cleveland linebacker and former Saint Scott Fujita and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove.
Vilma has been on the Saints’ physically unable to perform list while continuing his comeback from offseason surgery on his left knee, but might be activated after the first six weeks of the regular season. Goodell said Vilma could be paid for his time on New Orleans’ PUP list.
New Orleans has a bye this week, then the Saints could activate Vilma next week, if he is healthy enough to play. When Vilma was first place on the PUP list, Saints interim coach Aaron Kromer said the goal was to have Vilma back in the lineup by Week 7.
Robert Griffin III took part in the Washington Redskins’ full practice Friday for the first time this week and appears set to play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
Griffin was full-go after being limited Wednesday and Thursday while recovering from a concussion suffered in last week’s 24-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
“If he passes his tests and we don’t see any symptoms, then it looks like he’ll be ready to go,” coach Mike Shanahan said and reiterated that the final decision will be made by medical professionals.
Vikings’ Griffen to play
Minnesota defensive end Everson Griffen is planning to travel with the Vikings to Washington and play in Sunday’s game following the sudden death of his mother.
Griffen returned to practice on Friday after missing the day before. He said he wanted to be with the team for support and to honor his mother, Sabrina Scott, who’d been in town visiting him. Griffen said she was healthy but politely declined to discuss her death further.
Wide receiver Jerome Simpson’s lower back problem has improved, but coach Leslie Frazier said his status for Sunday would be determined later. He also says running back Adrian Peterson’s sprained left ankle is “much better” and he should play against the Redskins.
Dolphins lose players
Miami Dolphins cornerback Richard Marshall and reserve running back Daniel Thomas have been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams.
Marshall will miss his second consecutive game because of a back injury. Thomas suffered his second concussion of the season in Sunday’s win at Cincinnati.
Running back Reggie Bush (knee), receiver Brian Hartline (quadriceps), cornerback Nolan Carroll (Achilles) and safety Reshad Jones (back and heel) were listed as probable. All participated fully in practice.
Jets offense gets lift
Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets’ offense are expecting to get a big boost against the Indianapolis Colts.
Tight end Dustin Keller, who has missed four games with a hamstring injury, and rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill, sidelined two games with an injured hamstring, are likely to return Sunday for an offense that ranks 28th overall. The Jets will place the injured star cornerback Darrelle Revis on season-ending injured reserve, a few weeks after coach Rex Ryan said the team would wait until after knee surgery.
Hicks to play Sunday
New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks practiced for the second consecutive day and there is a chance he will play Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers in a rematch of the NFC title game.
The Giants listed Nicks as questionable in their injury report Friday, but teammates seemed to indicate that his chances of playing were better than 50-50.
Nicks has not played since the second week of the season, when he was sidelined with soreness in the right foot that he broke in the offseason, and swelling in his left knee. He returned to practice Thursday for the first time in two weeks.
Suh investigation closed
Police in Dearborn, Mich., say they have closed their investigation into a traffic accident involving Detroit Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh. In a statement Friday, Dearborn police say the accident was minor and fault cannot be determined. Suh declined to comment after practice. A Livonia man says it’s not minor and he has at least $500 in damage. He says Suh sideswiped his vehicle Thursday and didn’t stop.
NFL doles out fines
Tennessee Titans safety Michael Griffin was fined $21,000 by the NFL for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Vikings wide receiver Michael Jenkins. The league said that Griffin committed unnecessary roughness against a defenseless player.
Fined $15,750 by the league were Green Bay linebacker Nick Perry, Seattle defensive end Chris Clemons, St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn and San Diego linebacker Melvin Ingram.
Perry was docked for striking Colts quarterback Andrew Luck in the neck and head area. Clemons unnecessarily drove Panthers quarterback Cam Newton to the ground. Quinn made helmet-to-helmet contact against Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb. Ingram struck Saints quarterback Drew Brees in the head and neck area and drove him to the ground.
Jets guard Matt Slauson was docked $10,000 for an illegal block.