Will Smith faults Roger Goodell
METAIRIE, La. -- Speaking publicly for the first time since being suspended four games following the league's bounty investigation, New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith faulted commissioner Roger Goodell for his decision.
"Obviously I don't think it's fair. Obviously I think the commissioner made a mistake," Smith said after Thursday's practice. "Ultimately, he made the call and it's in the court system. We'll see what happens. If I've got to serve the four games, I'll serve the four games. When I come back, I'll be 100 percent ready to go and lead my team."
Saints Bounty Scandal
An NFL investigation found the New Orleans Saints operated a bounty system that rewarded 22 to 27 players for hard hits and for injuring opposing players. Profile »
Smith was one of four players suspended for their role in the Saints' alleged cash-for-hits bounty system that ran from 2009-11. Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma was suspended without pay for the entire 2012 season. Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with the Green Bay Packers, was suspended for the first half of the 16-game season. And linebacker Scott Fujita, now with the Cleveland Browns, will miss the first three games.
"My position stands with the rest of the guys," Smith said. "I didn't really think there was a need for me to come out and just reiterate everything everybody else is saying. I'm on the same page as those guys and hopefully we'll get some result."
Vilma and seven witnesses testified last Thursday that Goodell got his facts wrong, and a federal judge in New Orleans is deciding whether the linebacker temporarily could return to work.
Smith, Fujita and Hargrove are waiting to see how the case turns out.
"It's tough because you don't know what's going to happen," Smith said. "You try not to focus on that. You try to focus on learning the defense, practicing hard and doing the little things to make me a better player and try not to worry about that."Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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