Jonathan Vilma is bracing for a suspension between two to eight games from the NFL in the "bounty" case, sources who have been in contact with the New Orleans Saints linebacker said Monday.
Vilma, his representatives and the NFL Players Association are unsure of exactly what discipline will be handed down at this point. But with Vilma the only player named in information released to the public, he expects the discipline to be at least a few games, according to sources.
Given the severity of the suspensions for coach Sean Payton (the entire 2012 season) and general manager Mickey Loomis (eight games), and statements from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about impending player discipline, some close to Vilma figure he could end up sitting out half the season.
Of course, even more severe discipline is possible. In the case of the penalties to the Saints and former coordinator Gregg Williams, who was suspended indefinitely, several parties involved were surprised at just how stringent the discipline was.
A decision from the league on player discipline could come later this week and is fully expected before the NFL draft starts April 26.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita and current NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith arrived at NFL offices in New York on Monday to meet with league officials, according to NFL Network's Albert Breer.
Also Monday, the NFLPA released a statement to NFL.com, acknowledging the union knew about the recently released audio of Williams urging his players to injure opponents before it was exposed on YouTube.
Filmmaker Sean Pamphilon recorded the Williams audio before last season's divisional playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.
"The NFLPA was aware of the existence of the Gregg Williams audio prior to its release," the union's statement read. "We learned of the tape as part of our effort to obtain any and all information related to an alleged pay-to-injure scheme. We had no control of the content and did not make a determination on the method of its release. To date, the NFL has not provided the NFLPA with detailed evidence of the existence of such a program."