- Associated Press - Monday, August 6, 2012

NEW YORK — The NFL calls a report it has offered a settlement and reduced suspension to Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma “completely inaccurate.”

Vilma has been suspended for the 2012 season for his role in the Saints bounty program, which he adamantly has claimed did not exist. Citing anonymous sources, ESPN.com reported the league offered Vilma an eight-game suspension if he would drop his defamation lawsuit against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

“No such settlement offer has been made,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday. “We will continue to respect the court proceedings on this matter and have no further comment at this time.”

A judge has ordered the league and Vilma’s representatives to hold confidential settlement talks. A person familiar with those talks told the Associated Press he had “not heard anything that concrete from anyone at the NFL” regarding cutting Vilma’s suspension to eight games.

The person, who spoke anonymously because the talks are private, added that he was not aware of any offers from the league.

Female official to work Packers-Chargers game

SAN DIEGO — Shannon Eastin will become the first woman to officiate an NFL game when she works as a line judge for the Green Bay at San Diego preseason game Thursday night. The regular NFL officials have been locked out by the league.

Eastin is a college referee who has worked in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (FCS division). She is one of the replacement officials hired by the NFL and has 16 years of experience.

Around the league

BROWNS: Coach Pat Shurmur announced what had been an open secret after practice Monday: Quarterback Brandon Weeden, the No. 22 overall pick, will start Friday night in Detroit.

BRONCOS: Denver signed veteran free agent linebacker Keith Brooking. The 15th-year pro played his last three seasons in Dallas after an outstanding 11-year run in Atlanta, where he was the Falcons’ No. 1 draft pick in 1998.

VIKINGS: Minnesota is hoping wide receiver Greg Childs can recover fully from his freak injury, a ruptured patella tendon in both knees that ended his rookie season before it began. Coach Leslie Frazier said Childs was having surgery Monday.

JAGUARS: Jacksonville first-round pick Justin Blackmon has agreed to terms. Blackmon missed the first 11 days of training camp. The wide receiver was the fifth selection in the draft.