Panel vacates bounty suspensions

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- 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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