New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma is planning to request a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, according to a source close to the player, to discuss the discipline as the process is re-opened in the Saints' bounty case.
The NFL sent a letter to the NFL Players Association on Monday declaring a close-of-business deadline Tuesday for the players to provide any additional information to support their case in this matter. Vilma's side expects to have a meeting with the commissioner next week.
A league spokesman said Tuesday the league remains open to meeting with all players involved in the case.
"Each player suspended in the Saints bounty matter has declined multiple opportunities to meet with league representatives to present information," the spokesman said in an email. "We have reminded each of those players that we remain willing to meet with them prior to the commissioner making the determination called for by the CBA Appeals Panel. We intend to conduct any such meetings that are scheduled per our normal process under the CBA."
The collective bargaining agreement appeals panel sent the suspensions of Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita back to Goodell on Friday. Per a union source, the NFLPA then sent a letter asking for their reinstatement, which was granted by Goodell.
The source close to Vilma said that the expectation is this potential meeting will be part of the pre-discipline phase of the new discipline process, with Goodell's decision to be determined at some point following the meeting.
The source, and a source involved with the other three players, all of whom are being represented by the NFLPA in court, said that if the players view Goodell's new discipline as unacceptable, all four players would appeal. That appeal, the sources said, would be overseen by a third-party arbitrator, and not Goodell.
In the NFL's letter to the union Monday, the league said the players would be afforded the chance to meet with the commissioner before he made the adjusted discipline determination requested by the CBA panel Friday.
Goodell and Vilma previously had a meeting scheduled for Aug. 23, and Vilma was in New York for the meeting on that day, but conditions could not be agreed upon for the meeting.
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