December 12, 2010; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (98) and linebacker Jonathan Vilma (51) celebrate as cornerback Malcolm Jenkins (27) returns a kickoff for a touchdown during the first half against the St. Louis Rams at the Louisiana Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
The battle has been long and hard for New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma who has fought for not only the right to play this season, but also to clear his name in a messy bounty investigation.
Long thought of as the Drew Brees of the defense, Vilma was instrumental in one of the famous plays of Super Bowl XLIV when he checked out of a previous play and set cornerback Tracy Porter up for the infamous interception for a touchdown that made the team champions.
His absence from the team from the bounty suspensions are done at least for the moment as it goes to an appeal process and he was activated to the roster yesterday after having a excellent week at practice.
Although Vilma may not play an entire game as he’s done in the past, his presence on the field is welcomed even on offense by Brees who touts Vilma’s leadership being key.
FOX sideline reporter Jennifer Hale reported earlier that Vilma gave an emotional speech last night where he said:
"“Fight for what you believe in, never accept defeat.”"
Hale said that linebacker Curtis Lofton told her that he “wanted to grab pads and play instantly.” Hopefully this will resonate with a defense that is currently ranked at the bottom of the league.