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NFL roundup: Union grievance to be heard Wednesday

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The players union is scheduled to have its grievance against the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell heard Wednesday, with the NFLPA questioning the league's authority to punish players for participating in an alleged bounty program with the Saints.

Goodell suspended linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the 2012 season and punished defensive end Will Smith, defensive end Anthony Hargrove and linebacker Scott Fujita without providing "credible evidence" that any of the players participated according to NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and president Domonique Foxworth.

Players are opposing the suspension based on language in the collective bargaining agreement finalized last August which states player conduct violations pre-dating the ratification of the existing CBA are beyond league jurisdiction. Furthermore, players' on-field transgressions are to be subject to review by Art Shell and Ted Cottrell, the top officers responsible for reviews, fines and appeals for on-field conduct during the season.

Fujita and Hargrove are no longer in New Orleans. Fujita signed with the Cleveland Browns as a free agent prior to the start of the 2010 season and Hargrove signed a one-year deal with no signing bonus to join the Packers in March.Lions' Fairley has arraignment postponed

---The Minnesota Vikings are expected to move into a new downtown stadium to open the 2016 stadium and the effort to make that happen can begin in earnest after Governor Mark Dayton signed the $975 million bill approving construction of the facility on Monday.

Dayton, who has long supported the stadium project and said he would do what it took to protect the franchise's future in Minneapolis, helped to lead rallies in and outside of the state legislature all the way through votes in the House and Senate last week.

The Vikings agreed to hike their own private construction cost on Thursday, which helped nudged the bill through a conference committee session.

---Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley was due to be arraigned on Monday on a misdemeanor charge of marijuana, but the arraignment was adjourned to July 31 to give his attorney, Sidney Harrell Jr., time to review the case.

---Tim Hightower is ready to give it another run in Washington.

The 25-year-old running back, who was an unrestricted free agent, signed on Monday to stay with the Redskins, continuing a tenure that was interrupted in 2011 by a torn ACL.

Hightower played in five games for the Redskins in 2011, carrying the ball 84 times for 321 yards and one touchdown.

---Well-traveled kicker Brandon Coutu signed with the Jaguars on Monday, continuing an NFL career that's seen him sign with three teams, but play just one game.

To make room for Coutu on the roster, the Jaguars waived rookie free agent cornerback Dontrell Johnson.

--- Denver Broncos defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely has retired after 36 years of coaching, including the last 17 in the NFL, the team announced.

Nunnely, 60, was replaced by Jay Rodgers, who has been a defensive assistant with the Broncos the past three seasons.

---Safety Chad Jones was waived by the Giants on Monday, ending his bid to return to the field with the team that drafted him in 2010 before a left leg injury suffered in a car accident kept him from football.

He hoped to be ready for football activity by July, and plans to continue training with that goal in mind. However, the Giants' detailed release of Jones' medical status casts doubt about his readiness to play in the NFL.

"Chad had a severe injury to his left leg, involving a complex tibial fracture with associated injury to muscle, nerves, and vascular structures," Giants associate team physician Dr. Scott Rodeo said in a release from the team. "This type of injury is often limb threatening, and can sometimes require amputation. He has made a remarkable recovery to date, with successful salvage of the leg. However, at this time he has residual sensory loss, muscle weakness, and tenuous soft tissue coverage in the involved lower leg. The resultant functional impairment precludes his ability to perform physically at the level required for professional football."

---Linebacker Emmanuel Acho, a sixth-round pick out of Texas, signed with the Browns. Terms were not disclosed.

Cleveland also signed linebacker JoJo Dickson and running back Adonis Thomas, waived running back Armond Smith and placed linebacker Andrew Sweat on the reserve/retired list.

Acho had 280 career tackles, eight sacks, seven forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions for the Longhorns.

---The 49ers signed defensive back Ben Hannula and linebacker Eric Bakhtiari, the team announced Monday.

Hannula signed a three-year contract; Bakhtiari received a two-year deal and was a two-time conference defensive player of the year for coach Jim Harbaugh at San Diego. He's been a practice squad player for six NFL teams, including two stints with the 49ers (2008, 2010).

The 49ers also released wide receiver John Matthews and offensive tackle Kevin Murphy.

---Running back Terrance Ganaway signed a four-year deal with the Jets.

The sixth-round pick from Baylor had 21 rushing touchdowns and 1,547 yards as the complement to Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft.

---The Raiders signed seven undrafted free agents following tryouts during the team's rookie minicamp over the weekend: K/P Eddy Carmona (Harding), DE Wayne Dorsey (Mississippi), TE Kyle Efaw (Boise State), T Kevin Haslam (Rutgers), CB LeQuan Lewis (Arizona State), FB TreShawn Robinson (Idaho) and WR Travionte Session (Nevada).

---Rookie right guard Peter Konz signed a four-year deal with the Falcons on Monday, leaving Atlanta with only two rookie draft choices to sign.

Konz, an All-Big Ten center at Wisconsin, was the Falcons' top draft pick, chosen in the second round.
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