Saints reject settlement offer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A final decision on the suspensions of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith appears imminent, but Vilma said Sunday he does not care about his playing status for the rest of the season.

“I’m more worried about us finishing strong,” Vilma said after the Saints’ 52-27 loss to the New York Giants. “This is definitely my priority.”

Ex-commissioner Paul Tagliabue is expected to rule soon on the NFL’s charges related to the bounty scandal.

Phil Smith, the agent for ex-Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, told CBS’ The NFL Today on Sunday that his client, Vilma, Smith and ex-Saints linebacker Scott Fujita had rejected a settlement offer that would have reduced the suspensions in exchange for the players signing a statement acknowledging that they violated league policy.

“It’s definitely not acceptable.” Smith said. “It’s curious to us that we would receive one at this point.”

Hargrove, who was cut by Green Bay in the preseason, said that there never was a pay-for-injury program and what he asked to sign was “full of untruths.”

Vilma, who originally was suspended for the entire season, and Smith, who was suspended for four games, have been allowed to play while their cases were being appealed.