Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita met with the NFL on Friday in New York, wrapping up meetings that Commissioner Roger Goodell, former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White and other league officials had to conduct with four current or former New Orleans Saints players before ruling on their bounty-related suspensions.
Two sources briefed on the meeting said Fujita insisted Friday the Saints, his former team, never ran a bounty program. Fujita has conceded there was a pay-for-performance system in New Orleans.
Fujita's original Sept. 18 meeting with the NFL was postponed because the league wanted to meet with him in person rather than via video conference. Fujita had to stay in Cleveland then because he was rehabilitating an injured knee.
The meetings with Fujita, Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith and free-agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (the latter three happened last week) were part of the pre-discipline phase of the collective bargaining agreement process. The CBA appeals panel sent the suspensions (one season for Vilma, eight games for Hargrove, four games for Smith, three games for Fujita) back to Goodell and asked that he separate pay-to-injure and pay-for-performance infractions and rule again.
With all four meetings in the books, Goodell could rule at any time, but he's expected to take his time and do more work on the case, according to a source familiar with how the commissioner might proceed.