Cal alum Fujita suspended for role in bounty scandal

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Cal alum and current Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita has been suspended without pay for the first three games of the 2012 NFL season because of his role in a pay-for-performance bounty scandal with the New Orleans Saints, the NFL announced in a statement Wednesday.

Fujita, who played for Cal from 1998-2001, was a member of the Saints from 2006-09. The NFL’s statement said Fujita and three other players were suspended for “conduct detrimental to the NFL as a result of their leadership roles” in the bounty program from 2009 to 2011.

According to the statement: “The record established that Fujita, a linebacker, pledged a significant amount of money to the prohibited pay-for-performance/bounty pool during the 2009 NFL playoffs when he played for the Saints. The pool to which he pledged paid large cash rewards for ‘cart-offs’ and ‘knockouts,’ plays during which an opposing player was injured.”

Three other players were suspended for their roles in the bounty system on Wednesday. Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma was suspended for the entire 2012 season; defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with the Green Bay Packers, was suspended for eight games; and Saints defensive end Will Smith was banned for four games.

Fujita did not immediately respond to an email or phone call from The Associated Press seeking comment.