Bountygate appeals will be heard Thursday

Originally, reports were that Roger Goodell would hear appeals to the Bountygate suspensions on Tuesday and would rule on them before the end of the week.

Now, all appeals will be heard on Thursday in New York. It’s just a guess, but that means Goodell will likely have a ruling sometime early next week following Easter weekend.

Saints head coach Sean Payton, Saints linebackers coach Joe Vitt, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and the Saints as an organization are appealing, according to NFL.com. The club has been fined $500,000 and stripped of second-round draft picks this year and in 2013. The only suspended individual who is accepting his fate without a fight is ex-Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

No one believes Goodell is going to change the penalties following the hearings. Maybe it gives Payton more time to plot a plan for the organization while he is gone. What is less clear right now is when potential discipline for players involved in the bounty system is handed out. It wouldn’t surprise us if Goodell has more meetings scheduled with Williams, who as a condition of his indefinite suspension must cooperate with the league if he hopes to be cleared to return. Stay tuned.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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