NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- More than nine months after the NFL first disclosed its bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints, four players will finally get a ruling on whether their initial suspensions are upheld, reduced or thrown out.
Former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who was appointed to handle a second round of player appeals to the league, has informed all parties he planned to rule by Tuesday afternoon. His decision could affect whether two current Saints -- linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith -- get to play out the season.
If the sanctioned players find Tagliabue's decision palatable, that could finally bring the bounty saga to an end. If not, it will be up to a federal judge to either disqualify Tagliabue or let his ruling stand.
Even if Tagliabue maintains the suspensions, any punishment will delayed a week, allowing Vilma and Smith to at least play this Sunday at home against Tampa Bay, a person familiar with the decision said.
The delay is aimed at givi...