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Ex-Jet Vilma suspended for season

2004: JONATHAN VILMA, Linebacker, Miami Drafted: First round,

2004: JONATHAN VILMA, Linebacker, Miami
Drafted: First round, No. 12 overall
Vilma was a stud linebacker in Herm Edwards' 4-3 defense, including being named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and being selected to the Pro Bowl the following season. The team's leader on defense saw his production drop in 2006 in Eric Mangini's 3-4 defense, and a knee injury curtailed his 2007 season. He was traded to New Orleans in the offseason, and helped the Saints win a Super Bowl in the 2009 season.
Impact: Hit
(Credit: Joe Rogate)

Commisioner Roger Goodell suspended four Saints in connection with the "Bountygate" scandal that rocked the NFL in early March -- including former Jet Jonathan Vilma, who will miss the entire season.

Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove -- who plays for the Packers -- has been suspended for eight games because the league felt he obstructed the investigation by lying in 2010.

Saints defensive end Will Smith will miss four games and linebacker Scott Fujita -- now with the Browns -- will miss three.

All of the suspensions are without pay. 

The NFL began investigating the Saints in 2010 for deliberately attempting to injure players. On March 2, the league office announced that as many as 27 players were involved -- as well as former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Head coach Sean Payton subsequently was suspended for the entire season after it was revealed he tried to cover up the bounties.

Vilma's punishment was the harshest among the four players because the NFL said he helped in "establishing and funding the program."

Vilma, who was drafted by the Jets in 2004 and traded in 2008 to the Saints, apparently heard the news on TV -- not from the NFL. His backup QB Chase Daniel tweeted this earlier today: "I was standing right next 2 @jonvilma51 when he found out abt his suspension ON @SportsCenter. Really? He has to find out about it that way?"

Tags: saints , jonathan vilma , boutygate

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