Goodell wants bounty meeting with players soon

New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, right, greets quarterback Drew Brees (9) after Brees' touchdown pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

WASHINGTON (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to meet with the players whose bounty suspensions were temporarily lifted "as soon as possible."

Appearing at a hearing on Capitol Hill, Goodell noted Wednesday that the league "offered several times to have them come in as part of the hearing process, the CBA process, and I hope that they'll do that soon."

An appeals panel last week overturned the suspensions of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma (2012 season) and defensive end Will Smith (four games) for their roles in the team's bounty program from 2009-11. Browns linebacker Scott Fujita got three games and DE Anthony Hargrove, now a free agent, got eight.

The appeals panel said Goodell overstepped his authority in hearing the players' appeals of their punishments.