NEW YORK — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has appointed his predecessor, Paul Tagliabue, to hear the appeals of four players suspended in the Saints bounties scandal.
Goodell says Friday that he notified Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove, as well as the players' union, that Tagliabue would be the hearing officer to "decide the appeals and bring the matter to a prompt and fair conclusion."
The union and the four players had asked Goodell to recuse himself, contending he could not fairly rule. Their second set of appeals is expected to be heard Tuesday.
Vilma was suspended for the 2012 season and Smith was banned four games for his role in the bounties program. Fujita, now with the Browns, was barred three games, since reduced to one. Hargrove, a free agent, had his suspension reduced from eight games to seven.
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