New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell are at it again. Vilma came out and said that he will get off the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP) this week and play on Sunday vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The knee injury that put him on the PUP isn’t the problem, the problem is that this news comes a week after Goodell reinstated Vilma’s one year suspension due to his involvement in the Bounty Gate scandal. Vilma quickly appealed the suspension, again, and is now waiting for the NFL to rule on it. According to league rules, Vilma is eligible to play until the NFL ruling, scheduled for October 23.
What does this all mean? Nobody knows. Vilma practiced for the first time today and believes he will be playing on Sunday. Even if he plays, there is still next Tuesday to consider. If the appeal does not go through, Vilma will have to face his one year suspension head on. This game will mean nothing if he can’t play the rest of the season. Not to mention the fact that the Saints gave Vilma’s starting middle linebacker job to Curtis Lofton and gave him a free-agent contract during the off season.
So lets say that Vilma is ready and does play this Sunday. Lofton is the starting linebacker so Vilma will just have to wait his turn. Once Vilma does go in the game, will it disrupt the defense? Does Steve Spagnuolo, the Saints Defensive Coordinator, have a plan for Vilma? Don’t get me wrong, Vilma is a leader and a great player, but you cannot just walk into a team in week 7 of the regular season and pretend to blend right in. Especially not when somebody has already taken your role. Maybe this is the boost the Saints need. They won their game before the bye week and we all know they need a miracle to get this team rolling again. Is this the miracle? Probably not, but in this game, you can never say never.
The other three players, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita, also appealed their suspension and will be eligible to play on Sunday. Even if none of the four players play, they will get paid their game salary. In my honest opinion, I believe this is getting out of control. I say the players just swallow their pride, go on with the suspension and come back next year. No need to hire all there lawyers and write a 29 page appeal calling the commissioner all kinds of names.
My thoughts are the following, Smith was only suspended for four games, meaning he could have come back to play three weeks ago, Fujita was suspended for three weeks meaning he could have been playing four weeks ago and Hargrove was suspended for eight weeks so he only had one more week of suspension and could have been back on the field. Instead, they are in the middle of an appeal process against the commissioner of the NFL. Is it really worth it? Two of the four players could have been playing by now. For now, my recommendation would be to not pick Vilma up in your fantasy team just yet. Lets just wait and see what this week brings.