New Orleans Saints  

 

Jonathan Vilma, NFL will not reach a settlement before hearing

No settlement will be reached between the NFL and linebacker Jonathan Vilma regarding his season-long suspension for his role in the New Orleans Saints' "bounty" scandal before Friday's hearing, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed Thursday.

Jonathan Vilma is challenging his season-long suspension for being linked to the New Orleans Saints'
Jonathan Vilma is challenging his season-long suspension for being linked to the New Orleans Saints' "bounty" scandal. (Gerald Herbert/Associated Press)

The sides were involved in court-ordered settlement talks before a hearing Friday in New Orleans regarding Vilma's request for a temporary restraining order that would allow him to return to work until all legal proceedings were complete.

Vilma has filed a defamation lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, as well as a motion to have his suspension overturned.

There is the chance the court could rule on the injunction and whether or not the courts would accept the defamation case.

The NFL never formally offered Vilma a reduction in his suspension in an effort to end this portion of the bounty scandal, the league and another source familiar with the settlement talks said.

Vilma's legal maneuvering is being done with his own legal team. Three other suspended players -- Anthony Hargrove (now with the Green Bay Packers), Scott Fujita (now with the Cleveland Browns) and Will Smith (still with the Saints) -- are using lawyers provided by the NFL Players Association. They haven't taken the legal action that Vilma has, but those players could pursue measures through the courts as well, a source close to one of the suspended players said.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89

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