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Suspended Saints DE Smith releases statement

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By PFW staff

Saints DE Will Smith, who is suspended for the first three games of the season for his alleged role in the team's bounty program from 2009-11, released the following statement about the lack of resolve in his case.

"As we get closer to kickoff Sunday, I am disappointed my playing status remains in limbo. I respect Judge Berrigan's order and my legal team has been diligent in responding. The NFLPA has represented the players in line with their valued role in serving a unique group of professionals, we have been personally involved in every part of this process and there is no conflict of interest to speak of. Irreparable harm has already been levied on me and the players. We have been unfairly labeled and punished by this process.

"While we believe in mediation and settlement, the NFL has never expressed a genuine interest in a mediation process that would provide the players with a fair venue that could be trusted, nor made a settlement offer for us to professionally consider, at any time. That is why we have asked the court for just relief. It is my sincere hope to have this matter resolved as quickly as possible so I may return to my job, teammates and fans, as we take the field against the Redskins."

Judge Berrigan issued an order on Wednesday expressing her lament that a settlement had not been reached and asked for more materials for the players' request for a temporary restraining order, which would allow them to return to work while their case against the NFL continues.

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