NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 09: Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings lies on the turf after taking a hard hit from Roman Harper #41 of the New Orleans Saints at Louisiana Superdome on September 9, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 09: Jonathan Vilma #51 of the New Orleans Saints tackles Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on October 9, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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NFL denies appeals of bounty suspensions

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NEW ORLEANS - The NFL has denied the appeals of four players suspended in connection with the league's bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints.

In his latest ruling handed down on Tuesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell tells Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita that each of them is still welcome to meet with him to give their side of the story, and that he reserves the right to reduce the suspensions should new information be brought forth.

Goodell says he did not take his initial decision lightly. He also points out that although players have said they were wrongly accused based on insufficient evidence, they chose not to participate fully in their appeal hearings.

Vilma is suspended for the entire 2012 season, while Smith will miss four games. Hargrove, now with Green Bay, was suspended eight games, while Fujita, now with Cleveland, suspended three games.

Copyright Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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