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New Orleans Saints activate Will Smith; Vilma to exempt list

The New Orleans Saints activated formerly suspended defensive end Will Smith on Saturday to the 53-man roster ahead of the team's regular-season opener Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

A victory for the players

Smith and linebacker Vilma had their suspensions lifted by an arbitration appeal panel Friday. Vilma had been suspended for the season and Smith for four games for their roles in the Saints' "bounty" program.

The Saints have led Smith to believe he will be active Sunday, a source close to the player told and NFL Network's Albert Breer.

The Saints made a flurry of moves, adding Vilma and linebacker Barrett Ruud on the exempt list, which needs permission from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Wide receiver Adrian Arrington and fullback Korey Hall were both released, and offensive tackle Marcel Jones was placed on injured reserve. The Saints' current roster stands at 50 players, three below the limit, according to The Times-Picayune.

Although Smith and Vilma had their suspensions vacated, the appeal panel still gave Goodell the power to suspend the players because of "conduct detrimental" to the game.

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