Following complaints from the players association, the NFL reportedly told the NFLPA it is open to sharing more details on its investigation into the New Orleans Saints' "bounty" program.
Citing a source "with knowledge of the situation," the NFL Network said
the league had contacted the NFLPA to let it know more information is
Along with the two confidential reports given to the players
association, the league would make its security staff available to the
NFLPA next week to talk about interview and other investigation
proceedings, according to the report.
The league has also offered to meet at the players association's
offices to talk about the league's process in the investigation, the
source told the NFL Network.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith complained the players
association did not have enough information, in an interview with
ProPlayerInsiders.com, a website that is reportedly connected to the
The NFL cited 22 to 27 Saints players were involved in the bounty
program, which the league found provided non-contract financial
incentives for players to hurt opponents and knock them out of games.
Smith said in the ProPlayerInsiders.com interview the NFL had not
provided enough information for the NFLPA to interpret potential
"As of yet, they haven't turned over anything that we would consider to
be direct evidence of player involvement in a 'pay-to-injure' scheme
that we could consider for discipline," Smith told the website. "It's
very hard to have a productive discussion about punishment when one
side has kept, to itself, all the information.
"What I would expect is to have a conversation soon and certainly it
would be our expectation that the request for all information, as it
relates to particular players, will be provided before any discipline
Saints' player suspensions likely to be
Commissioner Roger Goodell noted at the league meetings that he "is
very aware of the competitive aspects" of the suspensions or fines soon
to be imposed on New Orleans players who are deemed to have had
significant roles in the bounty scandal.
Translation: If there are suspensions against multiple players -- and
that certainly appeared to be the prevailing sentiment looking forward
-- they will likely be "staggered" to avoid gutting the Saints'
In fact, multiple sources from the NFLPA said that such "staggered"
actions will be recommended by the association.
Goodell reiterated several times this week that he will not take action
against the players minus a recommendation from the NFLPA, and noted
that he hoped to speak or meet with NFLPA executive director DeMaurice
Smith by week's end. For the most part, New Orleans officials
maintained an incredibly low profile at the meetings in Palm Beach --
team owner Tom Benson, for instance, wasn't seen at all exiting the
various sessions he attended -- but one middle-level official conceded
that middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma almost certainly will be
suspended for his active role in the bounty program.
Vilma, according to the league's report of the matter, contributed
$10,000 for a bounty on then-Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre prior to
the 2010 NFC championship game.
Report: Payton appealing suspension Friday
Sean Payton was reportedly expected to file his appeal of his
season-long suspension Friday, for his role in the New Orleans Saints'
alleged "bounty" program.
Payton, whose suspension was set to begin Sunday, was going to file the
appeal Friday, according to the NFL Network.
The NFL announced earlier this month that an investigation found
players were paid incentives by assistant coaches for injuring opposing
players and knocking them out of the game. The NFL later announced its
investigation claimed Payton and other Saints officials and coaches
misled the league during the query.
The appeal will, at the very least, buy Payton some extra time, but not
all that much if it is denied.
Commmissioner Roger Goodell said at the owners meetings this week that
the appeals process would be expedited, though the coach, as well as
any other suspended individuals who appealed, would remain in their
jobs until the process was completed.
Payton was expected to ask for assistance in identifying the time
period he will have to mount and appeal and also try to get the full
reports of the investigation from NFL Security, according to the NFL
The Saints could have a high-profile replacement for Payton next
season, as his mentor, Bill Parcells, has reportedly said he would
consider coming out of retirement to fill in for his friend.
The move would push back Parcells' eligibility for the Hall of Fame, as
reported by The Sports Xchange and other outlets, with the five-year
retirement window closed and reset to zero.
The Saints would also have to follow the "Rooney Rule," and interview
at least one minority for the position if they hired someone outside
the organization, such as Parcells. But NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told
proftootballtalk.com the Saints could meet the requirement by
interviewing a member of the current staff who is a minority
NFL giving more info to NFLPA
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