Tagliabue to Make NFL Saints Bounty Rulings, Times-Picayune Says

Former National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue probably will rule today on players’ appeals in the New Orleans Saints bounty case, the Times-Picayune reported, citing people it didn’t identify.

Details of any punishments won’t be released for another week, the Associated Press said, to allow a federal judge in New Orleans to decide whether to remove Tagliabue, the NFL commissioner from 1989-2006, as the arbitrator, AP said.

The NFL said about two dozen Saints players, led by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, paid each other as much as $1,500 from 2009 to 2011 for trying to injure players such as Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Brett Favre.

The players sanctioned by the NFL -- Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita -- have said they’ll be dissatisfied unless their suspensions are overturned.

Commissioner Roger Goodell chose Tagliabue to hear the appeals after his original penalties were thrown out by an arbitrator. The players then appealed his new penalties: Goodell left Vilma’s full-season suspension unchanged, reduced Hargrove’s by one game to seven, cut Smith’s in half to four games and reduced Fujita’s by three games to one.

Coach Sean Payton was barred for a year and Williams was suspended indefinitely. Mickey Loomis, the Saints’ general manager, received an eight-game suspension. Those penalties were allowed to stand.

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