Bounty appeals to be heard this month

Appeals from players that were suspended because of the Saints' bounty program will be heard June 18, according to a report. Plus, Drew Brees could have a new contract soon, another first-round pick is signed, Chad Ochocinco is released and Brian Banks will get another shot.

Appeals for the four players suspended for their parts in the New Orleans Saints' bounty program will be heard June 18 by commissioner Roger Goodell, according to an NFL.com report.

The meeting will be the first between Goodell and the players since punishment was handed out. Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma was suspended for the 2012 season, and is suing Goodell for defamation. Goodell also suspended Saints defensive end Will Smith for four games; former Saints defensive end Anthony Hargrove, now with Green Bay, for eight games; and linebacker Scott Fujita, now with Cleveland, for three games.

The NFL Players Association have filed a grievance alleging that the new collective bargaining agreement prohibits Goodell from punishing players for conduct before the CBA was signed last summer.

Saints send new contract proposal to Brees

The New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees appear to be making progress in their contract talks, as the Saints sent a new contract proposal to Brees on Thursday, ESPN reported.

Despite the new proposal and the progress being made, no deal is imminent, the New Orleans Times Picayune reported.

Earlier on Thursday, multiple reports said the reports from WWL Radio and FOX 8 that a deal could be done by Friday or Monday were overly optimistic.

Prior to this week, the Saints' last offer had been close to $19 million per year over five years, while Brees was asking for about $20.5 million per year.

Rams sign first-round pick Brockers

The St. Louis Rams signed their first-round draft pick, defensive tackle Michael Brockers, to a four-year contract, the team announced Thursday.

Brockers' contract is worth $9.52 -- with a $5.36 million signing bonus -- and has a fifth-year option, NFL Network reported.

Brockers, who played at LSU and is expected to become a starter immediately for the Rams, is the 14th first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to sign a contract. He was the No. 14 overall selection in the draft.

The Vikings have signed first-round safety Harrison Smith (29th overall) but have yet to sign first-round tackle Matt Kalil (fourth overall).

Ochocinco released by Patriots

Chad Ochocinco's inglorious tenure with the Patriots is over.

At 4:20 ET, he confirmed the transaction via Twitter.

"Thoroughly enjoyed the oppurtunity to play for the "Patriot" organization... fans were ... wicked awesome, I wish all of you the best..."

Earlier reports that Ochocinco was still on the roster and left the team facility early for a dentist appointment were quickly debunked.

The Patriots first attempted to trade the veteran receiver but found no takers. Since he's not subject to waivers, he's a free agent as soon as the transaction is submitted to the NFL.

Ochocinco struggled to acclimate to the Patriots' playbook and openly voiced frustration last season when he remained a starter late into the season despite limited contributions.

Ochocinco didn't practice with the team Thursday, and a source told initially told Boston Herald that Ochocinco was at Gillette Stadium in the morning but left within 10-15 minutes. The fact that Ochocinco's Twitter bio didn't include any information about the Patriots led to speculation that he was cut.

The Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders could have interest in Ochocinco. He teamed with Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer during their glory years together with the Bengals. The Dolphins run a West Coast-style offense and don't have a No. 1-type receiver.

Even the toned-down Ochocinco, whose brash celebrations and demonstrative, chatty on-field schtick grated Bengals coach Marvin Lewis before the trade to New England last offseason, might not be considered one himself at this stage in his career and veteran receivers haven't been coveted commodities in free agency of late

Report: Exonerated Banks will get a second look with Seahawks

Running back Brian Banks, who had an audition with the Seattle Seahawks Thursday two weeks after he was exonerated from charges of rape and kidnapping, has been invited back for a second look, the Seattle Times reported.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll had offered Banks a scholarship to USC almost 10 years ago, before he served a six-year jail sentence after pleading no contest to the rape charge. He was exonerated last month when the accuser admitted the allegation was fabricated.

So Carroll offered him a chance to try out for the Seahawks.

Banks ran the 40-yard dash, but didn't know the time the team logged. Banks told the Seattle Times he has been running in the mid 4.6s, low 4.7s in training for this.

Carroll saw enough that he knew he wanted to see more. Banks has been invited to the team's three-day minicamp, which begins Tuesday. Banks has been offered tryouts with at least five other teams.

"Regardless of how it turns out, it's the fact that he's made it to this point and he's going to get this opportunity, I hope it helps other people," Carroll told the Times. "That's an emotional exchange, it's worth passing along."


Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" Appeals for the four players suspended for their parts in the New Orleans Saints' bounty program will be heard June 18 by commissioner Roger Goodell, according to an NFL.com report. The meeting will be the first between Goodell and the players since punishment was handed out. Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma was suspended for the 2012 season, and is suing Goodell for defamation. Goodell also suspended Saints defensive end Will Smith for four games; former Saints defensive end Anthony Hargrove, now with Green Bay, for eight games; and linebacker Scott Fujita, now with Cleveland, for three games. The NFL Players Association have filed a grievance alleging that the new collective bargaining agreement prohibits Goodell from punishing players for conduct before the CBA was signed last summer. The New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees appear to be making progress in their contract talks, as the Saints sent a new contract proposal to Brees on Thursday, ESPN reported. Despite the new proposal and the progress being made, no deal is imminent, the New Orleans Times Picayune reported. Earlier on Thursday, multiple reports said the reports from WWL Radio and FOX 8 that a deal could be done by Friday or Monday were overly optimistic. Prior to this week, the Saints' last offer had been close to $19 million per year over five years, while Brees was asking for about $20.5 million per year. The St. Louis Rams signed their first-round draft pick, defensive tackle Michael Brockers, to a four-year contract, the team announced Thursday. Brockers' contract is worth $9.52 -- with a $5.36 million signing bonus -- and has a fifth-year option, NFL Network reported. Brockers, who played at LSU and is expected to become a starter immediately for the Rams, is the 14th first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to sign a contract. He was the No. 14 overall selection in the draft. The Vikings have signed first-round safety Harrison Smith (29th overall) but have yet to sign first-round tackle Matt Kalil (fourth overall). Chad Ochocinco's inglorious tenure with the Patriots is over. At 4:20 ET, he confirmed the transaction via Twitter. \"Thoroughly enjoyed the oppurtunity to play for the \"Patriot\" organization... fans were ... wicked awesome, I wish all of you the best...\" Earlier reports that Ochocinco was still on the roster and left the team facility early for a dentist appointment were quickly debunked. The Patriots first attempted to trade the veteran receiver but found no takers. Since he's not subject to waivers, he's a free agent as soon as the transaction is submitted to the NFL. Ochocinco struggled to acclimate to the Patriots' playbook and openly voiced frustration last season when he remained a starter late into the season despite limited contributions. Ochocinco didn't practice with the team Thursday, and a source told initially told Boston Herald that Ochocinco was at Gillette Stadium in the morning but left within 10-15 minutes. The fact that Ochocinco's Twitter bio didn't include any information about the Patriots led to speculation that he was cut. The Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders could have interest in Ochocinco. He teamed with Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer during their glory years together with the Bengals. The Dolphins run a West Coast-style offense and don't have a No. 1-type receiver. Even the toned-down Ochocinco, whose brash celebrations and demonstrative, chatty on-field schtick grated Bengals coach Marvin Lewis before the trade to New England last offseason, might not be considered one himself at this stage in his career and veteran receivers haven't been coveted commodities in free agency of late Running back Brian Banks, who had an audition with the Seattle Seahawks Thursday two weeks after he was exonerated from charges of rape and kidnapping, has been invited back for a second look, the Seattle Times reported. Seattle coach Pete Carroll had offered Banks a scholarship to USC almost 10 years ago, before he served a six-year jail sentence after pleading no contest to the rape charge. He was exonerated last month when the accuser admitted the allegation was fabricated. So Carroll offered him a chance to try out for the Seahawks. Banks ran the 40-yard dash, but didn't know the time the team logged. Banks told the Seattle Times he has been running in the mid 4.6s, low 4.7s in training for this. Carroll saw enough that he knew he wanted to see more. Banks has been invited to the team's three-day minicamp, which begins Tuesday. 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