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Judge overturns Saints suspensions

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Judge overturns Saints suspensions

By JP Finlay
CSNwashington.com

Player suspensions from the NFL investigation into bounty-related rule violations by New Orleans Saints players have been overturned by a three-member panel, according to a report from Sports Illustrated.

Word of the overturned suspensions emerged on Twitter Friday afternoon from Sports Illustrated reporter Jim Trotter. Once Trotter said that the suspensions will be overturned, suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma reacted with a "Victory is Mine" tweet that sent the social media site into a frenzy.

Vilma was scheduled to be suspended for the entire year for violations of the NFL bounty policy. Saints defensive lineman Will Smith was scheduled for a four-game suspension, while former Saint and current Brown linebacker Scott Fujita and former Saint and current Packer defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove were due to miss eight games each.

Reaction to the ruling from the NFL had not emerged by Friday afternoon, and word from the Saints on what, if any, role Vilma or Smith will have in this weekends game against the Redskins has not been reported.

Stay tuned to CSNwashington.com as this story unfolds.

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New Redskins center Sullivan says he'll be ready quickly

New Redskins center Sullivan says he'll be ready quickly

It’s a story that happens all around the NFL every week. Players get injured on Sunday, calls go out to veterans on Monday, they try out and sign on Tuesday. Then the hard work of learning a new team’s system begins, a task that is especially tough when the new player is a center with all of the protection and other calls that have to come from that position. Other than quarterback it’s the toughest transition in the NFL.

But new Redskins center John Sullivan doesn’t seem to be that worried about it.

“It just takes time to get calls down,” said the former Viking. “Essentially, most football’s the same. There are certain changes here and there I’ve played in a few systems so there’s some carry over more from the first system I was in in Minnesota. But it’s just getting Bill [Callahan’s] calls down, Bill’s techniques, all that stuff. The guys are helping me along and Bill is doing a good job so I think I’ll have them pretty quick.”

Sullivan certainly has a lot of experience in football. From 2008-2014 he started 93 of a possible 96 games at center for the Vikings. But he missed all of the 2015 season after having back surgery. He returned to Minnesota this year but he was released on August 30. He says his health hasn’t been an issue going back to the start of offseason work in April.

“At that point, you get through a couple of days not feeling any restrictions and you start to really forget about it,” he said.

Now it’s time for the crash course in Gruden/McVay/Callahan Offense 101.

“I feel like I’m back in training camp, trying to learn an offense, spending a lot of time here at the facility and staying in a hotel room close by,” said Sullivan. “It’s a little bit different but it’s exciting all the same.”

It remains to be seen what role Sullivan will play. With Kory Lichtensteiger out for at least eight weeks the starting center job is vacant. Spencer Long can start there and he may be the long-term answer at the position. But while left guard Shawn Lauvao is sidelined with an ankle injury the logical move is to have Long, who started 13 games at left guard last year, play there. That would open up center for Sullivan.

Stay tuned. For strategic reasons there is no reason for Gruden to announce anything about his starting offensive line in advance of when the offense takes the field for the first time against the Browns. We may not know until then.

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Don't mess with Trent Williams. Seriously. Watch this video.

Don't mess with Trent Williams. Seriously. Watch this video.

Long considered one of the toughest dudes in the NFL, video of Redskins left tackle Trent Williams proves it's unwise to mess with 71. The video from @Hogs2.0 shows Williams sparring in a boxing ring, and looking quite spry.

It's unclear when the video was shot, though the tweet was posted Wednesday night. 

As for Williams, he's coming off his fourth straight Pro Bowl season at left tackle and has started all three games for the Redskins this season. In last Sunday's win over the Giants, injuries forced Williams to move to left guard, an unusual move. Washington coach Jay Gruden said after the game that Williams did so well at guard that it would be "tempting" to keep him there as the 'Skins wait for Shawn Lauvao to mend.

Regardless where he lands on the offensive line, it's no surprise to see Williams looking quite effective in the boxing ring. Whenever an altercation seems close on the football field for Washington, Williams is usually not far from the action. And of course there is the infamous head-smush Williams gave Richard Sherman after the playoff loss to Seattle at the end of the 2012 season.

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