Goodell: Evidence could follow appeals

Don’t look for quick rulings on the appeals of the suspensions of New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith.

Wrapping up an owners meeting in Atlanta, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he will not rule on the appeals until after grievances filed by the NFL Players Association have been resolved. One grievance previously was heard by an arbitrator, but not ruling has been issued. Another grievance is scheduled to be heard by a system arbitrator May 30. Goodell also said he can foresee a release of evidence in the Saints’ bounty scandal after the appeals process is over.

Goodell declined comment on a defamation lawsuit filed by Vilma.

Goodell said he knows a lot of fans are unhappy with the suspensions he’s handed out to players, coaches and Saints general manager Mickey Loomis. Appeals for Loomis and the coaches already have been heard and their suspensions have been upheld. But Goodell said he’s looking forward to meeting with the players during the appeals process.

“That’s what the appeals process is for,’’ Goodell said. “You want to hear what the players have to say. When we get to the appeals, we’ll be able to talk about it and we’ll be able to hear from one another.’’