Paul Tagliabue overturns bounty suspensions

Then-NFL COO Roger Goodell, left, and then-NFL commissioner

Then-NFL COO Roger Goodell, left, and then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue poses for photos after Goodell was selected to succeed Tagliabue as the league's new commissioner at an NFL meeting in Northbrook, Ill. Photo Credit: AP, 2006

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NEW ORLEANS -- Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has overturned the suspensions of four current and former New Orleans Saints players in the league's bounty investigation of the club.

Tagliabue, however, found that the players' conduct was detrimental to the league. He says they participated in a performance pool that rewarded key plays -- including hard tackles -- that could justify fines.

But the former commissioner said Tuesday that "this entire case has been contaminated by the coaches and others in the Saints' organization."

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma initially had been suspended the whole season, while Saints defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove received shorter suspensions.

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