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Players want Goodell off bounty case

NEW ORLEANS — All four players punished in the Saints bounty scandal want commissioner Roger Goodell removed because they do not believe he can be impartial, the Associated Press and NFL Network reported Friday.

And the AP reported that one of the four players, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, expects to face the Bucs on Oct. 21 while his appeal is pending.

The league said only Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove appealed Goodell's second ban.

In September, an appeals panel vacated Goodell's initial bans. On Tuesday he upheld his seasonlong one of Vilma (though he can be paid for time spent on the physically unable to perform list) and four-gamer of Smith, reduced Hargrove's from eight to seven and Fujita's from three to one.

Vilma, who had offseason surgery on his left knee, can come off the PUP list next week. "Excited to get Vilma back out there on the field," Saints linebacker Scott Shanle said in a text message.

None of the players were available for comment.

Comment irks 49ers coach

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh accused Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride of trying to influence officials prior to Sunday's game between the teams.

Gilbride was asked Thursday what makes the 49ers front line hard to block. He first praised its play, then talked about tackle Justin Smith.

"He does a good a job of grabbing a hold of offensive linemen," Gilbride said. "He never gets called for it, so he gets away with murder,"

Harbaugh issued a statement via the team in response.

"Kevin Gilbride's outrageous, irrational statement regarding Justin Smith's play is, first, an absurd analogy," it read. "Second, it is an incendiary comment targeting one of the truly exemplary players in this league."

Smith wasn't bothered: "Hey, better than getting caught with it."

Giants: Receiver Hakeem Nicks, who has missed three games with foot and knee injuries, practiced for the second straight day. Coach Tom Coughlin said his status will be determined today.

Jets: Corner Darrelle Revis, who tore his left ACL on Sept. 23, went on season-ending injured reserve. The team held off because of a "0.0002 chance" he could play in the Super Bowl. … Tight end Dustin Keller and receiver Stephen Hill, out four and two games, respectively, with hamstring injuries, expect to play Sunday.

Lions: Police in Dearborn, Mich., closed an investigation into a traffic incident involving defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. It said the accident, in which Suh sideswiped a car, was minor and fault could not be determined. The other driver, Steve Vines, said Suh later tried to intimidate him.

Redskins: Quarterback Robert Griffin III, who sustained a concussion Sunday, fully participated in practice. He's expected to start Sunday.

Vikings: Reserve defensive end and special teams standout Everson Griffen will play Sunday, three days after his mother's death. He said it is what she would have wanted.

Fines: The league confirmed Jets guard Matt Slauson must pay $10,000 for Monday's block that caused Texans linebacker Brian Cushing's season-ending torn right ACL.

Players want Goodell off bounty case 10/12/12 [Last modified: Saturday, October 13, 2012 1:32am]

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