Players appealing bounty suspensions ask for coaches to appear

The four players suspended by the NFL for their alleged roles in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal have requested that coaches and others also involved appear at their appeals hearing Monday in New York.

According to James Varney of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the NFLPA has requested that suspended Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis, who will be suspended for eight weeks beginning in Week 1, appear. They have also requested ringleader Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt, the interim replacement for Payton who will be suspended for the first six weeks of the season, appear.

Blake Williams, Michael Cerullo, Joe Hummel and Jeff Miller are also on the list. Some speculate Cerullo, a former Saints assistant no longer in the NFL, was the whistle blower.

This will be a hotly debated issue come Monday but few expect the players to have any success. They are appealing their suspensions to commissioner Roger Goodell, the man who suspended them. The league wants to send a very strong statement in punishing this case. It will be more interesting if the coaches do appear, that is for sure. The guess here is the NFL will not require those still employed in the league to attend.

Jonathan Vilma’s case is most extreme because he has been suspended for the entire 2012 season. Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita are also appealing. Stay tuned.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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