New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma made his debut Sunday while appealing a suspension for his role in the Saints bounty program.

The ninth-year pro didn't start but did get on the field throughout the opening half of the Saints' game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He pressured Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman on an incompletion that was nearly intercepted by Roman Harper and got his hands on another pass that he tipped first with his right hand and then his left before it fell incomplete.

Vilma has been rehabbing his surgically repaired left knee and practiced for the first time Wednesday. He was moved from the physically unable to perform list to the 53-man roster Saturday.

The linebacker's return could wind up being relatively brief. His appeal hearing on a season-long suspension has been scheduled for Oct. 30.


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