Scott Fujita Suspended for First 3 Games of 2012 Season, Will Appeal

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIMay 2, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  Scott Fujita #55 of the New Orleans Saints speaks in a press conference after defeating the Indianapolis Colts during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

Scott Fujita will be suspended without pay for the first three games of the 2012 NFL season, said a league official Tuesday morning.

His losses equal roughly $644,118, Darren Rovell said.

Fujita and former New Orleans Saints teammates Anthony Hargrove (eight games) and Will Smith (four games) and Jonathon Vilma (entire 2012 season) received their suspension notice Tuesday morning.

All four players will appeal the suspension.  "...get ready for a massive multiple legal battle over this on several fronts," an NFL source told ESPN reporter Adam Schefter.

Fujita denied involvement in the bounty system for which he was suspended.  Although, he did admit to paying players for big plays but not those which resulted in the injury of opponents.  The NFL disagreed and lumped Fujita's contributions to the money pool as a condition of involvement in the bounty program.

“In assessing player discipline,” Goodell said, “I focused on players who were in leadership positions at the Saints; contributed a particularly large sum of money toward the program; specifically contributed to a bounty on an opposing player; demonstrated a clear intent to participate in a program that potentially injured opposing players; sought rewards for doing so; and/or obstructed the 2010 investigation.”

With Fujita sidelined for the first three games of the year, the Browns will likely employ Chris Gocong at Fujita's strong-side linebacker position and Kaluka Maiava at Gocong's usual weak-side position.  In 2011, this was the arrangement after Fujita suffered a season ending injury.

This will also lower the learning curve for rookie linebackers James-Michael Johnson and Emmanuel Acho.  Both could see significant playing time during the first three weeks with Fujita out.

Both Acho and Johnson played the middle linebacker position at the college Senior Bowl but Acho has been projected to fill the outside linebacker position at the pro level.



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