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Though the NFL declared Vilma and three other suspended players eligible to play following the ruling, Goodell also promised that he would “make an expedited determination of the discipline imposed” for violating the league’s bounty rule.

Goodell owes it to the players to hurry. Their careers have a limited lifespan to begin with, and any time missed is time they can’t get back on the field.

They’ve already paid a heavy price by being labeled as villains in the bounty scheme. It may well cost them jobs in the future or money in new contracts.

They’ve been punished enough.

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Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg