NFL upholds two bounty suspensions

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the suspensions of Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith on Tuesday for their role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal and reduced penalties for Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove.

Vilma will sit out the entire season and Smith’s punishment stands at four games.

Hargrove, a free agent defensive lineman, will face a two-game suspension once he signs with a team. He originally was hit with eight games, but that was reduced to seven with five games already served. Fujita, who plays for Cleveland, will now miss only one game instead of three.

Only Smith and Fujita have played this season because an appeal panel created by the NFL’s labor agreement vacated the original suspensions on technical grounds and informed Goodell that he needed to clarify the reasons for the punishment.

Vilma has been recovering from off-season knee surgery and hopes to return in two weeks when the Saints play at Tampa Bay.

The players can further delay their suspensions by appealing again through their labor contract.

REDSKINS: Quarterback Robert Griffin III has been cleared to practice without contact today, according to a report by The Washington Post.

Griffin is recovering from a mild concussion suffered Sunday during a loss to the Falcons.

• Released struggling kicker Billy Cundiff and replaced him with free agent Kai Forbath.

TEXANS: Linebacker Brian Cushing is out for the season with a torn ligament in his left knee.

Cushing was hurt during the second quarter of the Texans’ 23-17 win over the Jets on Monday night on a low block by Matt Slauson.

CHIEFS: Offensive tackle Eric Winston laid into the small percentage of Kansas City fans who cheered Sunday when embattled quarterback Matt Cassel sustained a concussion during the fourth quarter of a 9-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

During a post-game diatribe that quickly went viral, Winston called the cheering “sickening” and said he’d never been more embarrassed to play pro football. Winston has since clarified his statement to say not all Chiefs fans were cheering the injury, but he’s otherwise stood by his comments.

LIONS: Former Detroit defensive star Alex Karras is at home, spending his final days with his family.

Craig Mitnick, Karras’ attorney in a lawsuit against the NFL, says Karras might be dying from kidney failure because his body has caught up to the dementia he suffers from. Mitnick says the family hasn’t yet decided whether his brain will be donated to research.


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