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NFL requests information from players before 'bounty' ruling

The NFL sent a letter to the NFL Players Association on Monday, asking that the four players involved in the New Orleans Saints "bounty" case submit any additional information to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell by the close of business Tuesday, according to a league source.

The suspensions of Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Scott Fujita and Will Smith were sent back to Goodell on Friday by the CBA appeals panel, which asked that the commissioner specify which offenses fell under conduct detrimental (pay to injure) and which offenses had a possibility to be classified as salary-cap violations (pay for performance).

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The source said Goodell will rule after giving the players the chance to provide the additional evidence. The letter also noted that each player was given opportunities to speak with the commissioner after the discipline was imposed, including one at the appeals hearing, and emphasized that the league remains open to meeting with the players.

The NFL's letter was in response to a letter from the NFLPA, which a union source said outlined expectations for the process ahead, in light of the CBA panel's decision.

Meanwhile, the NFLPA and its lawyers, on behalf of Hargrove, Fujita and Smith, withdrew requests for preliminary injunctions to stop the players' suspensions.

A source close to the players explained that the request no longer was necessary in light of the CBA panel's decision. The source added that if Goodell were to re-impose the suspensions, those would be subject to another appeals process that they believe would go to a neutral arbitrator. The players also could simply re-file their requests for the injunctions if the suspensions are re-imposed.

Vilma's request for a preliminary injunction, as part of his defamation lawsuit, has not been withdrawn.

Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer.

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