Saints Players Hammered; Vilma out for entire season

Roger Goodell used the same hammer to punish players that he used to pound the coaches and general manager of the New Orleans Saints.

More than a month later, the other shoe fell today. According to Judy Battista of the New York Times, Goodell has suspended linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012 season for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal. Vilma had personally put up $10,000 for someone to knock Brett Favre out of the NFC Championship Game, according to the NFL’s report.

Per Battista, linebacker Scott Fujita, now with the Cleveland Browns, was suspended for the first three games of the season. Defensive linemen Anthony Hargrove (8 games) and Will Smith (4 games) were also suspended.

It’s not surprising the league came down hard on players after Saints coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire season. Ex-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now with the St. Louis Rams, has been suspended indefinitely. Saints linebackers coach Joe Vitt will be out for the first six games and general manager Mickey Loomis will miss the first eight games.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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