Reporting Daryl Ruiter
UPDATED 5/7/2012 1:47 p.m.
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita did not appeal his three-game suspension but reserved the right to do so in a filing with the NFL Monday the NFLPA announced.
Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma appealed his year-long suspension on Monday while Green Bay defensive end Anthony Hargrove and Saints defensive end Will Smith also reserved their right to appeal.
“I disagree wholeheartedly with the discipline imposed,” Fujita said in a statement to Tom Withers of the Associated Press. “I’ve yet to hear the specifics of any allegation against me, nor have I seen any evidence that supports what the NFL alleges.
“I look forward to the opportunity to confront what evidence they claim to have in the appropriate forum.”
Fujita admitted to Peter King of Sports Illustrated in March that he paid bonuses to teammates for big defensive plays but did not contribute to a “pot” or make payments for trying to injure opponents.
Last week the NFL said otherwise claiming that Fujita was among the players who served a “leadership role” in the pay to injure scandal and contributed “a significant amount of money” during the 2009 playoffs.
Fujita continues to deny that he contributed to a bounty pool.
“I stand by my previous comments. I have never contributed money to any so-called “bounty” pool,” Fujita said. “And any statements to the contrary are false. To say I’m disappointed with the League would be a huge understatement.”
The NFLPA filed a grievance last week with the NFL arguing that Goodell is prohibited from punishing players for any aspect of the case occurring before the new collective bargaining agreement was signed last August. It argues that a CBA system arbitrator, and not Goodell, has the authority to decide player punishment under such circumstances, as well as rule on any appeals.
In addition to the suspensions of Vilma and Fujita, Hargrove was suspended eight games and Smith for four games without pay by Goodell last week.
The three will appeal once the grievance to determine who will hear the appeal is settled.
Fujita would lose three game checks costing him $644,100 of his $3.65 million salary should the suspension be upheld.
The NFL Players Associations and the suspended players say that the NFL has not provided evidence that they were involved in the Saints bounty program.
The NFL has said its investigation included 18,000 documents comprising nearly 50,000 pages of evidence.
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