The NFL has apparently blinked in its standoff with Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
ESPN is reporting that the league has offered to reduce Vilma’s year-long suspension to eight games as part of negotiations with the NFL Players Association and the four players who were suspended in the Saints’ bounty program.
The NFL alleges the Saints operated a bounty system rewarding players for hard hits and injuring opposing players.
ESPN, citing anonymous sources, said the offer is contingent on Vilma dropping a civil suit charging commissioner Roger Goodell with defamation of character.
Goodell has said Vilma was a leader of the bounty program, which allegedly offered $10,000 rewards for taking out Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner and Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre during the 2010 playoffs.
The other three players — defensive end Will Smith (four games) and former Saints Anthony Hargrove (eight games), and Scott