Four current and former New Orleans Saints players – Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma – were all suspended Wednesday for their involvement in the New Orleans Saints bounty program from 2009-2011.
Any such program is illegal under the NFL Bylaws, the Collective Bargaining Agreement and NFL Player Contracts.
The most severe of the penalties was handed down to Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who will be suspended without pay for the entirety of the 2012 NFL season, effective immediately. The veteran is not allowed to participate in any team activities for the entirety of the season, starting Tuesday.
After the NFL's investigation concluded, they found that Vilma offered a $10,000 cash award for anyone who knocked Kurt Warner or Brett Favre out of playoff games in 2009. He will be eligible for reinstatement
Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, who is now with the Green Bay Packers, received an eight-game suspension due to his part, not only in the bounty program, but obstructing the investigation into the program as well. Hargrove told at least one player that there was a large bounty on Brett Favre during the 2010 NFC Championship game.
Will Smith, still playing defensive end for the Saints, will be suspended for the first four games of the season, for helping former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in establishing and funding the bounty program.
Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, who was with the Saints from 2006-2006, will miss four games in the 2012 season, for contributing a significant amount of money to the bounty pool in the 2009 playoffs.