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Report: No deal, Vilma will let judge decide fate

Talks of a settlement between the NFL and New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma are on life support a day before a federal judge in Louisiana is expected to rule on Vilma's request for a temporary restraining order while his lawsuit against Roger Goodell proceeds.

U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan is likely to render a decision no later than Monday and as soon as Friday, according to the two sides.

The judge was asked to consider overturning Vilma's season-long suspension for his role in the Saints' bounty program.

Berrigan questioned Goodell's authority to suspend players for violations that appeared to take place, based on evidence presented by the league, in meeting rooms and locker rooms. Berrigan said such punishment "borders on ridiculous."

The NFL argued even a federal judge doesn't have the jurisdiction to overturn the collectively bargained authority of Goodell to suspend players for on-field and off-field violations.

The NFL denied an ESPN report Sunday night that it offered Vilma a reduced suspension -- to eight games -- in return for him dropping his lawsuit for defamation of character.

By going forward with the legal matter, the other players suspended along with Vilma -- defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, defensive end Will Smith and linebacker Scott Fujita -- could also see their own suspensions cut down or eliminated.

If necessary, the NFL is expected to appeal and likely seek an expedited injunction to prevent players from taking the field, maintaining Goodell as the final-say authority in league disciplinary matters as defined by the union and league's collective bargaining agreement.

-- The Sports Xchange