Vilma has maintained all along that he did not participate in a bounty program and has denied that one existed. The NFL has portrayed Vilma as a leader in the program and said he pledged money as a reward for hurting opponents. Vilma previously appealed the suspension to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but it was upheld. Vilma also has filed a defamation lawsuit against Goodell.
I don’t know if we’ll get a resolution on this Monday, but I’ll be monitoring it and will let you know if there is any news. Even if a decision doesn’t come Monday, I’d imagine it will come soon. The Saints hold their first training camp practice Thursday.
Vilma is recovering from a knee injury that forced him to miss part of last season. The Saints obviously would prefer to have their defensive leader eligible to play this season. But they made contingency plans in case they don’t. They went out and signed free-agent linebackers Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne. Lofton likely would start in the middle and Hawthorne on the outside if Vilma can’t play this season. If the suspension is overturned, the Saints would have to re-think things a bit because both Lofton and Vilma have played middle linebacker.
But, if he’s totally healthy, I think Vilma probably is better suited than Lofton to move to the outside.