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Tagliabue decision coming Tuesday, but bounty case not over yet

Jonathan Vilma, Justin Drescher

New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma (51) and long snapper Justin Drescher (47) walk off the field after a 35-28 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFL football game in Tampa, Fla., Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)


Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue is expected to announce on Tuesday his decision on the appeals for four players suspended in the Saints bounty case. But that doesn’t mean this whole thing is over.

Reports from the Associated Press and New Orleans Times-Picayune say that if Tagliabue does uphold any of the players’ suspensions, he’ll delay implementation of the suspensions for at least another week to give time to Judge Helen Berrigan time to issue a ruling.

So Saints defensive end Will Smith, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove won’t necessarily know for sure what their fate is even after Tagliabue issues his ruling.

Fujita (who is on injured reserve with a neck injury) and Hargrove (who hasn’t drawn much interest since being released by the Packers) may never play again anyway. Smith and Vilma will at least be available for the Saints this week, even if Tagliabue announces on Tuesday that he is upholding their suspensions.