Vilma says he will play against Tampa Bay, appeals to federal court

While he appeals the suspension handed down by commissioner Roger Goodel, New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma plans to play in Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.The NFL had suspended Vilma for an entire season in connection to ‘bounty gate’ and his alleged involvement.

Vilma told New Orleans TV station WVUE-TV that “I’ll be allowed to practice, I’ll be allowed to play versus Tampa Bay.”

He continued to tell the TV station taht his injured left knee felt good that he had platelet-rich plasma therapy done in Germany.

“I know that the media hasn’t seen much of me for a while, but I’ve actually been working out, working hard, training hard so I can get to this point to be able to give our team a chance to win in Tampa Bay,” Vilma said.

Goodell recently reinstated the suspension of Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Scott Fujita and Will Smith. All four players appealed the suspensions on Friday. Hargrove’s original eight game ban was reduced to seven while Fujita’s was reduced from three to one. Fujita called the decision by Goodel an abuse of power.

Vilma, along with Anthony Hargrove, Scott Fujita and Will Smith appealed their suspensions on Friday. Hargrove had his original eight-game ban reduced to seven games and Fujita’s from three games to one. However, Vilma’s one-year suspension and Will Smith’s four-game ban were not reduced.

Vilma also filed papers with federal courts appealing the decision on Monday morning.

According to the AP

In papers filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans on Monday, Vilma said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell engaged in a ”farcical review” of his previously vacated disciplinary action before ruling last week that the Saints linebacker would remain suspended for the full season.

Vilma also is requesting U.S. District court Judge Ginger Berrigan to bar Goodell from handling any further action in the bounty matter and appoint a neutral arbitrator.

The players can continue to play while they await a decision on their appeals, which is expected to take place on Oct. 23.