Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted this breaking news, and Vilma's intentions come as no surprise.
Saints LB Jonathan Vilma officially has appealed his year-long suspension.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 7, 2012
Update: May 7 at 12:30 p.m. ET
Schefter tweeted that all four suspended players have officially appealed.
Appeals for the other three suspended players -- Will Smith, Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove -- are officially filed to Roger Goodell.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 7, 2012
Larry Holder covers the Saints for CBS Sports, and he tweeted what Vilma's counsel sent to the NFL for the appeal. It's an incredibly long post, requesting that the NFL provide them with certain information, 17 bullet points to be exact.
Here are a couple that stood out to me:
1. All documents and communications evidencing a “pay-for-performance/bounty” program, including, but not limited to, any ledger, notebook, record or record book, payment slip, note or entry of any sort, or evidencing that no such “pay-for- performance/bounty” program existed and/or involved Mr. Vilma;
16. The names and identification of all witnesses the NFL plans to present at Mr. Vilma’s Appeal Hearing.
The entire post illustrates more of what Vilma's counsel wants from the NFL, basically asking for the evidence to support its reasoning for suspending the linebacker for the entire year.
Obviously, no healthy player wants to sit out for an entire year and not get paid, but it remains a mystery if Vilma has any shot at winning his appeal.
Hopefully, Vilma is trying to win this appeal to be out on the field and not just for the sake of making a paycheck.
Will Vilma Win His Appeal?
Vilma wasn't the only player suspended, but he received the harshest punishment. Per Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune, Vilma said he plans to "fight this injustice," but whether he has any chance of winning is yet to be seen.
The Saints surely hope they're able to have Vilma this year, as he is a dominant presence for their defense. Even if it is just for a few games during the year and offseason workouts, having Vilma around will be a huge help for the team.
Without Vilma and head coach Sean Payton for all of 2012, New Orleans faces a great deal of adversity moving forward. If successful, Vilma's appeal could go a long way in helping the franchise get back on track.