NEW ORLEANS — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell rejected the appeals of four players suspended in connection with the league’s bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints.

In a ruling handed down on Tuesday, Goodell told Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita that he retains “the inherent authority to reduce a suspension should facts be brought to my attention warranting the exercise of that discretion.

“The record confirms that each of you was given multiple chances to meet with me to present your side of the story,” Goodell said. “You are each still welcome to do so.”

Vilma is suspended for the entire 2012 season, while Smith will miss four games. Hargrove, now with Green Bay, was suspended eight games, while Fujita, now with Cleveland, was suspended three games.

The NFL Players Association issued a statement saying it will continue to pursue all options.

An arbitrator in Philadelphia ruled with Drew Brees in a dispute over how much the Saints would have to pay him if they applied the franchise tag to the star quarterback again in 2013.

The Saints have already used the tag on Brees for 2012, meaning he can’t negotiate with another team and could be forced to settle for a one-year, $16.3 million deal if he cannot reach a new long-term deal by July 16.

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. — Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Kiante Tripp is in a Georgia jail on a burglary charge.

College Park police spokesman Sgt. Jeff Hightower says Tripp was arrested with two others Sunday at an apartment in that Atlanta suburb.

ALAMEDA, Calif. —Ben Davidson, the hulking defensive end who starred for the Oakland Raiders in the 1960s before becoming a famous TV pitchman, diedat 72.

Davidson died Monday night. He was being treated for prostate cancer.

The 6-8 Davidson, who sported a handlebar mustache, spent 11 years in pro football before later starring in Miller Lite ads.

Associated Press