NEW ORLEANS -- Suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma filed a defamation lawsuit Thursday against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The suit in U.S. District Court in New Orleans claims Goodell has made false statements about Vilma while discussing the NFL's bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints.
Goodell has said Vilma was a leader of the team's bounty program that put up thousands of dollars for big hits on opposing teams' star players from 2009-11, including on then-Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner and then-Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre during the playoffs in 2010.
"Commissioner Goodell opted to make very public and unfortunately erroneous allegations against Jonathan," said Vilma's attorney, Peter Ginsberg. "By making these false and public statements, he has significantly harmed Jonathan's reputation and ability to make a living.
"By suing Commissioner Goodell in court, Jonathan opted to use a fair playing field where he has procedural rights and protections to remedy the harm Commissioner Goodell has done to him," Ginsberg added.
"We have not yet reviewed the filing," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "However, our commitment to player safety and the integrity of the game is our main consideration."
In other NFL news, the Philadelphia Eagles agreed to terms with running back LeSean McCoy on a five-year contract extension that runs through 2017. McCoy set franchise records in 2011 with 17 rushing touchdowns, and 20 total scores.