WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for players appealing NFL suspensions in the New Orleans Saints bounties case cross-examined one key witness Thursday. Now they're supposed to get a chance to confront another central figure: former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue is overseeing the latest round of player appeals; former Saints assistant coach Mike Cerullo was scheduled to take questions Thursday. Lawyers for the league and the NFL Players Association spent more than nine hours in a Washington office building.
"I am keeping with the direction of the commissioner to not talk about this," NFL senior vice president Adolpho Birch said on his way out.
Tagliabue has insisted on keeping the contents of the private hearings under wraps. He and various lawyers attending Thursday's session declined to comment afterward.
Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith have said they plan to be present Friday when Williams is slated to be there. New Orleans lost 23-13 to the Falcons in Atlanta on Thursday night.
Vilma and Smith — along with two former Saints, free-agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove and Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita — were suspended by the NFL for the Saints' cash-for-hits program that the league says Williams ran from 2009 to 2011.
Smith, suspended four games, and Vilma, suspended for the entire current season, have been playing while their appeals are pending.
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