Will Smith: New Orleans Saints' 'bounty' punishment not fair

New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith, who has said little about his impending four-game suspension in connection with the team's "bounty" program, said Thursday that he doesn't believe the NFL's investigation or punishment was meted out appropriately.

"Obviously I don't think it's fair," Smith said after practice. "Obviously I think the commissioner made a mistake."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended four players for their roles in the program that paid defensive players cash bonuses to injure opponents.

The NFL Players Association has sued the NFL on behalf of Smith and two other suspended players to have their bans overturned, arguing that Goodell cannot be impartial by handing down suspensions while also hearing the players' appeals.

The NFL says Goodell followed the process agreed to in the collective bargaining agreement.

"Ultimately, (Goodell) made the call and it's in the court system," Smith said. "We'll see what happens. If I've got to serve the four games, I'll serve the four games. When I come back, I'll be 100 percent ready to go and lead my team."

The NFL suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the 2012 season, along with former Saints players Anthony Hargrove, now with the Green Bay Packers, for eight games and Scott Fujita, now with the Cleveland Browns, for three games.

Saints head coach Sean Payton was also suspended for one year, assistant head coach Joe Vitt received a six-game ban and general manager Mickey Loomis eight games.

Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who the NFL said was the architect of the scheme, was suspended indefinitely.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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