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By STEVE REED / AP Sports Writer

NFL lawyers filed a motion in U.S. District Court in New Orleans requesting former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue be allowed to hear appeals on the Saints' bounties case next week.

The action comes after the players' union and the four players suspended in the bounties' case filed a motion asking that Tagliabue recuse himself from the case because of a conflict of interest and that a neutral arbitrator to be appointed by the court.

In the motion NFL lawyers quote defendant Jonathan Vilma's statement to ESPN saying that Tagliabue would be 'a good first step' as a 'neutral arbitrator.'

NFL lawyers argue 'it is difficult to think of anyone else more qualified' than Tagliabue.

The hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, subject to any rulings.

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