NFL giving more info to NFLPA

The NFL is working with the NFLPA to hand over more information regarding the "Bounty" issue with the New Orleans Saints. Player punishment has yet to be handed down.

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 available.

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, a website that is reportedly connected to the NFLPA.

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 interview the NFL had not provided enough information for the NFLPA to interpret potential punishments.

"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 takes place.

Saints' player suspensions likely to be staggered

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' defense.

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 Network.

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 the Saints could meet the requirement by interviewing a member of the current staff who is a minority

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