Defensive end Will Smith was in the New Orleans Saints’ starting lineup Sunday, two days after having his four-game suspension overturned by an appeals panel.

Smith said after the game that after speaking to NFL Players Association officials, he expects to remain eligible to play all season.

“When they told us, they told us it was more likely that we will be playing the rest of the season,” Smith said.

Will Smith (Jonathan Bachman/The Associated Press)


Smith was among four players suspended by the NFL after the league concluded in an investigation that Saints defensive players received cash payments the previous three seasons for hits that injured opponents. The players have denied the allegations.

The suspensions were overturned Friday by an appeals panel established by the sport’s collective bargaining agreement. But the panel’s decision allows NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to re-issue discipline against the players after reconsideration. Several people familiar with the case have said they expect the suspensions to be re-imposed at some point, although perhaps with slight modifications.

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