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Saints' Vilma expects to return soon

Oct. 15, 2012 at 9:05 PM
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NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Suspended New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma Monday asked a federal judge to overturn his NFL ban, saying he'll return to practice this week.

Vilma and three other Saints players were suspended in May for their alleged roles in what NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell contends was a scheme to pay players bounties to injure opponents.

The linebacker, who was suspended for a year, along with Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove Monday petitioned a New Orleans federal judge to overturn the bans, which are set for an upcoming appeals hearing.

Vilma has been on the physically unable-to-play list since the second week of the season as he rehabilitates a surgically repaired knee.

He told WVUE-TV, New Orleans, Sunday he will come off the PUP list Tuesday and could be ready for game action Sunday.

"I'll be allowed to practice, I'll be allowed to play versus Tampa Bay," Vilma said.

The players' latest appeal could be heard by Goodell next week, which would allow Vilma to play Sunday if the Saints activate him.

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