An internal appeals panel has lifted the suspensions of the four players suspended in the fallout from the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. Some of the players immediately took to Twitter to celebrate. Saints defensive end Will Smith, who would have been suspended for four games, was professional and reserved:
Thank you to everyone involved in the process of this solution.. And everyone who supported us through this whole ordeal. #whodat— Will Smith (@iWillSmith) September 7, 2012
Linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who was facing a year-long suspension, was more colorful:
Victory is mine!!!! -stewie griffin— Jonathan Vilma (@JonVilma51) September 7, 2012
Saints quarterback Drew Brees was asked by the Times-Picayune if he was surprised to see the suspensions lifted, and replied "No. I'm not surprised. Obviously I felt like they saw the information that we've seen for a long time." Safety Malcolm Jenkins offered his thoughts as well:
"I think we all know what went on and what was right and what was wrong. We were just at a time to wait and see how it all played out. It sounds like good news. Anything that sounds like they can get here sooner than they were supposed to is going to be great for our team."
The Saints open the season against the Washington Redskins on Sunday.