METAIRIE, La. — Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma isn’t happy with the timing former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue set for the testimony of two key witnesses in the ongoing bounty scandal.
But he is happy they’re being brought in to testify.
“That’s what we expected from (Roger) Goodell,” Vilma said Friday. “Obviously that didn’t happen. Tagliabue wants to have that. That’s good. I don’t like that he scheduling their hearings on days that we’re playing.”
Former Saints assistant Mike Cerullo and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams are set to testify on Nov. 29 and 30. The Saints, including Vilma and defensive end Will Smith, are playing at Atlanta the night of the 29th.
That would mean that both Saints players wouldn’t be able to hear testimony on one of the days and to be there for 8 a.m. on Nov. 30 would require them to rent a private jet for the other session.
“Obviously the intent was not for us to be there when you schedule it the way he scheduled it,” Vilma said.
Vilma, Smith along with former Saints players Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove continue to wait out a process that will ultimately determine whether they could be suspended or not for what the league says is their involvement in an alleged pay-for-injury bounty program the NFL believes New Orleans ran for three years.
Vilma said the players are set to testify on Dec. 3 and 4.
And he’d like to face his accusers, the men the league said helped provide with irrefutable evidence that the players were involved in the program.
“I’m kind of disappointed in that because these are the guys that essentially made the case against me,” Vilma said. “I would love to be there to see them, hear what they have to say, talk to Peter (Ginsberg) my attorney about it.”
What Vilma isn’t worried about is having his suspension upheld by Tagliabue.
“There’s always that possibility,” Vilma said. “We feel like once Gregg and Cerullo get on the stand and testify, we feel like there’s no plausible way we could be suspended after that. We’ll see what happens.”