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Players oppose Tagliabue presiding

Thu., Oct. 25, 2012, midnight

The players’ union and the four players suspended in the Saints’ bounties case filed motions Wednesday to have former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue removed from hearing their appeals.

They asked in U.S. District Court in New Orleans that Tagliabue recuse himself because of a conflict of interest, and also asked for a neutral arbitrator to be appointed by the court.

The NFL said it would oppose Tagliabue stepping aside.

Commissioner Roger Goodell removed himself from hearing this set of appeals and appointed his predecessor last week. But the players and their union contend Tagliabue should be disqualified because of his employment by a law firm that has handled bounty-related matters for the league and represented Goodell in Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s defamation lawsuit against him.

The hearings are scheduled for next Tuesday, subject to any court rulings.

The players association has concerns about “ethical and legal” issues involving Tagliabue hearing appeals by Vilma and defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and free- agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove.

Fujita, meanwhile, will be placed on injured reserve with a neck injury, ending his stormy season – and perhaps his football career.

Quick kicks

Linebacker Sean Lee, the leading tackler for the Dallas Cowboys, has been placed on injured reserve because of a right big toe injury. … Panthers linebacker Jon Beason has been placed on injured reserve with knee and shoulder issues. … Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams will serve 30 days under home arrest for driving under the influence, but not until after the season. … Browns offensive guard Jason Pinkston has been released from the hospital after being treated for blood clots in his lungs. … Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert expects to play Sunday at Green Bay despite an injured non-throwing shoulder.


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