Thanks to legal wrangling and dogged appeals, linebacker Jon Vilma and defensive end Will Smith haven’t missed a game from suspensions handed down by the NFL during the offseason for their alleged involvement in the team’s bounty scandal. Vilma’s return off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list has provided a boost in recent weeks to a lousy defense. Unpleasant:
Speaking of that defense, no unit in NFL history has ever allowed more yards in the first eight games of a season. Major off-field distractions continue as well. The latest is Sean Payton’s uncertain future with the Saints following news that the suspended head coach’s contract extension was voided by the NFL and a new agreement isn’t in place. - Alex Marvez
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