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NFL roundup: Tagliabue overturns suspensions; Steelers suspend Mendenhall

The SportsXchange

Paul Tagliabue affirmed the findings of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the league's investigation of the New Orleans Saints' bounty program, but vacated all discipline issued to players who were punished, league spokesman Greg Aiello announced on Twitter.

As a result, the suspensions of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove have been overturned.

"Unlike Saints' broad organizational misconduct, player appeals involve sharply focused issues of alleged individual player misconduct in several different aspects," Tagliabue said, according to multiple reports. "My affirmation of Commissioner Goodell's findings could certainly justify the issuance of fines. However, this entire case has been contaminated by the coaches and others in the Saints' organization."

Tagliabue's ruling doesn't mean Vilma will end his counter-attack. His lawyer has confirmed that VIlma will continue with his defamation case the against Goodell will move forward.

"Jonathan intends to continue to pursue the defamation lawsuit in order to reclaim his reputation," attorney Peter Ginsberg told Albert Breer of NFL Network. "We're pleased that the unjust penalties have been overturned, but this is only one piece in remedying the situation for Jonathan."

Running back Rashard Mendenhall was suspended one game by the Pittsburgh Steelers for conduct detrimental to the team.

Mendenhall has played in just four games this season after returning from January knee surgery, while also missing four games with an Achilles injury this season. He has rushed for 113 yards on 34 carries and has fallen behind Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman on the depth chart.

Mendenhall was inactive for the Steelers' past two games.

Baron Batch was promoted from the practice squad to fill Mendenhall's roster spot. He was on the active roster for the first 10 games this season before being released and joining the practice squad for the past three weeks.

Running back Fred Jackson had his season end when he was placed on the injured reserve list by the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday with a leg injury, the team announced.

Jackson was injured in the fourth quarter of the Bills' 15-12 home loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday when he was tackled by two defenders.

The Bills promoted defensive tackle Jay Ross from the practice squad to take Jackson's place on 53-man roster. Also, they signed running back Zach Brown to a practice squad contract. The Pitt product was cut by Buffalo after training camp.

---Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould will miss the rest of the season with a strained his left calf.

The team placed Gould on injured reserve Tuesday and signed veteran kicker Olindo Mare to a one-year deal. They also placed cornerback Sherrick McManis (knee) and safety Craig Steltz (chest) on IR while signing linebacker Jerry Franklin for two years.

Gould strained his left calf during warm-ups before Sunday's loss at Minnesota, leaving punter Adam Podlesh for kickoffs. Gould kicked two extra points, but didn't attempt a long field goal late in the first quarter.

---On the night Jerry Brown was killed in a car crash, he and teammate Josh Brent were among several Dallas Cowboys at the club Privae, according to a USA Today report.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Irving police are investigating the club to see if alcohol was "served to somebody who was intoxicated, which is illegal in Texas," TABC spokeswoman Carolyn Beck told the paper.

Brown was a passenger with Brent when the car flipped after hitting a curb. The crash occurred within five miles of Privae. Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter, and posted $500,000 bail.

The Cowboys also will conduct their own investigation to find out how many players were at the club, coach Jason Garrett told the Star-Telegram.

Also, the Dallas Cowboys invited Brent to Tuesday's private memorial service for linebacker Brown.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday morning on his weekly radio show on KRLD-FM that Brown's mother, Stacey Jackson, requested that Brent meet her at the airport and sit with the Brown family at the service.

---The Indianapolis Colts placed running back Donald Brown on injured reserve with an ankle injury and signed two veterans to help share the load with rookie Vick Ballard.

Delone Carter, who is listed as the current backup to Ballard, is also hobbled with an ankle injury and his availability for Sunday's showdown with AFC South rival Houston is uncertain.

To pad the depth chart, the Colts signed running backs Deji Karim and Mewelde Moore to the active roster and placed Brown and fullback Robert Hughes on injured reserve.

---The New York Jets have waived running back Kahlil Bell, according to multiple reports.

The Jets have Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell receiving most of the backfield reps, eliminating a need for Bell. The team could fill his roster spot to add wideout depth, with Braylon Edwards' name surfacing.

---Defensive tackle Demarcus Dobbs was placed on the injured reserve list by the San Francisco 49ers, the team announced Tuesday.

Dobbs has seven tackles in 12 games this season.

The Green Bay Packers signed defensive tackle Jordan Miller off their practice squad and released linebacker Vic So'oto.

Miller is a first-year player out of Southern who joined the practice squad on Oct. 23. He spent the first 15 games of the 2011 season on the Chicago Bears' practice squad before being elevated to the 53-man roster for the season finale - for which he was inactive.

So'oto appeared in one game for the Packers this season.
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