"Bountygate" LB Optimistic He'll Play

By Jim McCoy Tue 28th August SportsCleveland BrownsNew Orleans SaintsNFLScott Fujita

Browns linebacker Scott Fujita says he's "optimistic" he'll play in Cleveland's season opener against Philadelphia despite a three-game suspension hanging over him for his part in New Orleans' bounty scandal.

     Fujita was one of four players suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the pay-for-hits program that rocked the league. He returned to practice Tuesday for the first time since hurting his left knee in the Aug. 10 exhibition opener against Detroit.

     Fujita says he's encouraged by U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan's recent statements regarding suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma's request for a temporary restraining order to block the bounty sanctions. The judge has said that if she can clear up concerns about her jurisdiction, she would likely grant Vilma's request because she found the NFL's disciplinary process in the bounty matter unfair and the punishment excessive.

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