Jonathan Vilma to have separate meeting with Roger Goodell

At Jonathan Vilma's request, his meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be held separately from the other three players involved in the bounty situation, per a source close to the New Orleans Saints linebacker.

Vilma's meeting with the commissioner, part of the pre-discipline phase of the process, will be held Monday. Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita will meet with the commissioner Tuesday.

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The meetings were set up at the urging of Judge Helen Berrigan, who is presiding over the lawsuits in Louisiana.

An appeals panel sent the suspensions of Vilma, Hargrove, Smith and Fujita back to the Commissioner last Friday. The panel asked Goodell to make a distinction between the pay-to-injure infractions, which would be viewed as "conduct detrimental," and "pay-for-performance," which the NFL Players Association views as a salary-cap violation outside of Goodell's jurisdiction.

The league said in a statement Thursday that the panel "did not take issue with any findings that were made in the course of the investigation, did not exonerate anyone involved, and did not say that the commissioner 'overstepped his authority.'"

Peter Ginsberg, Vilma's attorney, responded to the league's statement Thursday by saying the ruling did erase the four players' suspensions.

"It is interesting and illuminating that it took the NFL almost one week to develop a publishable rationalization of the Appeals Board decision," Ginsberg said in a statement. "Contrary to the NFL's media statement, the Appeals Panel voided the suspensions -- it did not "put the suspensions on hold," as the NFL now pretends, but, instead, explicitly used the word "vacate" when addressing the Commissioner's previous punishment of the players. And the Appeals Board is clearly based on the conclusion that the Commissioner overstepped his jurisdiction."

Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer.

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