By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has filed a defamation lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The lawsuit filed Thursday 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 bounties on opposing team's star players, including on then-Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner and then-Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre during the 2009-10 playoffs.
Goodell has also suspended Vilma for the entire season. Vilma and three other players who received shorter suspensions all have appealed their punishments.
Vilma denies putting up money to knock any player out of a game.
His lawsuit asks for unspecified monetary damages.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.