NEW ORLEANS (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and four players whose suspensions in connection with the bounty investigation were recently lifted by an appeals panel have agreed to new meetings on the matter.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday no specific dates have been set for the meetings. An attorney for Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma said his client hoped to meet with the commissioner by early next week.
The NFL Players Association, which is representing Saints defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, did not immediately comment.
Goodell is reconsidering whether to hand down revised suspensions for the four players who had been punished in an alleged pay-for-pain pool offering cash bonuses for hits that injured opponents.
Ginsberg said Vilma's meeting would not be considered a hearing, but would be more akin to preliminary fact-finding meetings that occur at the outset of the disciplinary process outlined by the NFL's collective bargaining agreement.
"We expect to meet with commissioner Goodell and hopefully have a full, honest exchange of information and come to a just resolution," Ginsberg said.
He was not sure whether Vilma would meet with Goodell individually or at the same time as the other three players represented by the NFLPA.
The three-member panel that lifted the four players' suspensions on Friday did not permanently void them or address the merits of the bounty probe. Rather, it asked Goodell to start the disciplinary process over after ruling it was unclear whether he followed proper procedures in disciplining the players the first time.