METAIRIE, La. (AP) — The New Orleans Saints brought back receiver Robert Meachem, shortly after his release by the San Diego Chargers, then later Tuesday placed linebacker Jonathan Vilma on injured reserve, designated to return this season.
Vilma can't practice for the first six weeks of the schedule and can't be activated for the first eight weeks. Vilma has been rehabbing after August knee surgery.
Vilma was a central figure in the Saints bounty scandal last year. He initially received a full-season suspension, which banned him from Saints facilities during much of the offseason and training camp. Vilma maintained he would never intentionally injure fellow players, and that the bonuses were similar to incentives NFL players league-wide had offered teammates for years.
During a lengthy appeal, he was reinstated in Week 1 of the regular season, but placed on the physically unable to perform list before finally playing on Oct. 21. He also filed a defamation lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, which eventually was dismissed.
Meachem has signed a one-year contract. He was the Saints' first-round draft choice in 2007 and left for San Diego as a free agent last season.
His best season in New Orleans was 2009, when he had 45 catches for 722 yards and nine touchdowns in helping the Saints win their only Super Bowl title.
Last season, Meachem caught 14 passes for 207 yards and two TDs, both against the Saints.