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Saints LB Jonathan Vilma's defamation lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell dismissed

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell answers questions for fans during an availability with fans and reporters before an AFC divisional playoff NFL football game between the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)The Associated Press

A federal judge has dismissed New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma's defamation lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in connection with the bounty case.

U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan in New Orleans said Thursday the bounty matter "feels as protracted and painful as the Saints season itself, and calls for closure."

Goodell initially suspended Vilma for all of the 2012 season, and three other players received shorter bans. But Paul Tagliabue, Goodell's predecessor as commissioner, heard a final round of player appeals and threw out the suspensions last month.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello says Goodell has no comment on Thursday's ruling by Berrigan.

Peter Ginsberg, a lawyer for Vilma, says in an email to The Associated Press that they are "extremely disappointed" and "considering our options."