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DeMaurice Smith, Dominique Foxworth meet with Saints players

NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and president Dominique Foxworth met with New Orleans Saints players at the team's Metairie, La., facility Thursday to show support and provide updates on the ongoing bounty scandal, according to union spokesman George Atallah.

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The meeting came one day after the NFL suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the season and defensive end Will Smith for four games for their roles in the team's bounty program.

Defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove, formerly of the Saints and now with the Green Bay Packers, was suspended for eight games. Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, another former Saint, was suspended for three games. The NFL said other players took part in the bounties, but they weren't disciplined because the investigation focused on the leaders and organizers of the program. Those players' names have been turned over to the NFLPA, according to the NFL.

All four players plan to appeal their discipline but haven't formally notified the league of their intentions. They have until Monday afternoon -- three business days by rule -- to declare the plan to appeal, and that appeal will be heard by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Vilma and Smith have denied any involvement in what the NFL said was a pay-for-performance program that rewarded players for making big plays and targeting opponents for injury.

Vilma couldn't be at that meeting at the team facility because his suspension took effect immediately. All of the other players can take part in all offseason and preseason activities with their respective teams before serving their suspensions.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89.

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