Ruling on Saints bounties case expected by December

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Former NFL commission­er Paul Tagliabue plans to complete all hearings in the bounty probe by Dec. 4 and make a ruling shortly after.

In a document obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, Tagliabue directs the NFL to produce key witnesses in the New Orleans Saints cash-for-hits program, including former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former defensive assistant Mike Cerullo.

Four players initially were suspended, but those punishments were vacated. Commissioner Roger Goodell re-issued the suspensions with some modifications, and when the players appealed again, Goodell appointed Tagliabue to oversee the new hearings.

A federal judge is still considering arguments by players that Tagliabue should be removed as arbitrator because he is biased in favor of the NFL.

Based on the schedule laid out by Tagliabue, U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan could choose to rule as early as next week.

COWBOYS: Running back DeMarco Murray is likely to miss his sixth consecutive game today against Washing­ton with a sprained foot, and wide receiver Kevin Ogletree is out with a concussion.

Murray was listed as doubtful Wednesday.

Safety Charlie Peprah sustained concussions last weekend against Cleveland. Peprah is questionable.

BROWNS: Safety T.J. Ward has appealed a $25,000 fine for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Sunday at Dallas, and said the NFL’s rules on vicious hits need to be changed.

Ward received a letter from the league informing him of the penalty for hitting Ogletree. Ward said replays conclusively show he did not touch any part of Ogletree’s head. Ward said Ogletree was falling as he delivered his hit, which made it appear worse than it was.

CARDINALS: Coach Ken Whisenhunt says rookie Ryan Lindley will start at quarterback Sunday against St. Louis.

The former Richmond Academy and Georgia Tech star announced his decision to go with the sixth-round draft pick from San Diego State after practice Wednesday.

REDSKINS: A former Baylor basketball player has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for trying to extort $1 million from rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.

U.S. District Judge Walter Smith also ordered Richard Hurd, 26, pay a $1,000 fine for threatening to release unspecified damaging information about Griffin last June.

Hurd could have been sentenced to as many as three years behind bars after pleading guilty in September to two charges relating to the scam.


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