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Broncos DE Vance Walker likely to miss season after tearing ACL 08.16.16 at 10:19 am ET
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Vance Walker

Vance Walker

One of the key cogs of the Broncos’ vaunted defense likely will be watching from the sidelines this year.

Defensive end Vance Walker is expected to miss the season after tearing his right ACL in practice Monday. He was carted off the field during 9-on-7 drills, unable to put weight on his right leg.

Walker, who tallied 33 total tackles and two sacks for the defending Super Bowl champions last season, was expected to become a starter after Malik Jackson left for Jacksonville in free agency.

“We think the world of Vance and he was having a great camp,” Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said (via a story on the team’s website). “We’ll support him through his recovery, and he’ll come back stronger than ever.”

The Broncos will look to replace Walker, 29, with new acquisitions Jared Crick or Billy Winn, or perhaps Kubiak will give rookie Adam Gostis some first-team reps as the season draws closer.

Walker was not the only defensive lineman to pick up an injury Monday, as Saints first-round draft pick Sheldon Rankins was diagnosed with a broken fibula after being carted off from practice. He was injured during a goal-line drill.

Rankins will undergo more tests but likely will need surgery. Fractured fibulas typically sideline athletes for about six weeks.

“Obviously you never want to see a player go down,” Saints coach Sean Payton said (via “Hopefully the news is good.”

The 6-foot-2, 305-pound Louisville product was drafted 12th overall after recording 58 total tackles and six sacks his senior year. He was one of many defensive acquisitions the Saints made this offseason to try to improve a defense that has been one of the worst in the NFL the past two seasons.

“You’re going to face adversity throughout the season and nobody knows when and in what form it’s going to happen,” defensive coordinator Dennis Allen said. “But if that’s the case, it’s next man up — next guy’s got to step up, rise up and play to that same level. So that’s our mindset.”

Read More: Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, sheldon rankins, vance walker
Saints extend coach Sean Payton through 2020 season 03.23.16 at 10:24 am ET
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Sean Payton

Sean Payton

The Saints and coach Sean Payton have agreed to a five-year contract extension. Payton announced the news himself Wednesday morning at the NFL owners meetings in Boca Raton, Florida.

The new deal will keep Payton at the helm through the 2020 season. With the Saints’ struggles the past few seasons, there was some speculation that he and the team would be parting ways this offseason. The Saints have gone 7-9 each of the last two seasons. According to Payton, however, the deal had been in the works for quite some time.

“There’s so much of you in there, that I don’t see myself working anywhere else,” Payton said. “There’s been really good stability and consistency at ownership. We just had dinner with Mr. [Benson] last night, Mickey [Loomis], and I think that doesn’t guarantee anything, but it gives you a chance. It’s been very functional. That stability, obviously, I don’t take for granted.”

Payton is one of the longest-tenured coaches with one team, as he has coached the Saints for nine seasons (he missed all of the 2012 season as punishment for the Bountygate scandal). Over that span, he has a regular-season record of 87-57 and has appeared in the playoffs five times with a record of 6-4. He coached a Super Bowl champion in 2009.

The team reportedly also has been in talks to extend quarterback Drew Brees, who has one year remaining on his contract.

“I know Mickey and [Brees’ agent, Tom Condon] have had quite a bit of discussion in the last week and a half,” Payton said. “I would say ongoing now. It always takes a little longer than you want it to, and they’re never the same. This was a different type of negotiation than the last one. But I know there’s been quite a bit of dialogue.”

Read More: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, sean payton,
Saints release WR Marques Colston after 10 seasons with team 03.01.16 at 11:31 am ET
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Marques Colston (Derick E. Hingle/USA Today Sports)

Marques Colston’s 10-year run in New Orleans has ended. (Derick E. Hingle/USA Today Sports)

After 10 years with the Saints, wide receiver Marques Colston was released on Monday after a failed physical designation, which is likely related to a chest injury he suffered at the end of the 2015 season.

A seventh-round pick out of Hofstra in 2006, Colston leaves New Orleans as the Saints’ all-time leading receiver with 9,759 yards. He also holds the franchise record for most touchdowns with 72. While he never made a Pro Bowl in his 10 seasons with the Saints, he was instrumental in their first-ever Super Bowl championship in 2006.

The move was generally expected, as it saves the Saints $3.2 million against the salary cap. Colston made it clear he harbors no hard feelings for the organization.

“To my fellow players: thanks to each of you for sharing this journey with me, challenging me to grow as a player, and an individual,” Colston said in a statement on his website. “It’s been an honor to work beside you, and as a team we achieved something that can never be duplicated — the first Super Bowl victory for NOLA.”

Added Colston: “To everyone from the Benson family, the front office, coaches, and the training and equipment staff: It has been a pleasure to be part of a family with so many great people.”

The 32-year-old Colston was the third option in the Saints passing attack last season, as he was overshadowed by the dynamic Brandin Cooks and 2015 breakout Willie Snead. He finished with the worst statistical season of his career — 45 receptions, 520 yards and four touchdowns.

Read More: Brandin Cooks, Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints, Willie Snead
Gregg Williams hired by Titans after NFL reinstatement 02.07.13 at 1:28 pm ET
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Gregg Williams, one of the key figures in the Saints bounty scandal, was reinstated by the league on Wednesday and subsequently hired by the Titans as a senior assistant coach for the defense.

Williams had been suspended indefinitely by the league, but Wednesday’s NFL statement indicated Williams accepted responsibility for his role and pledged to never again be involved in any pay-for-performance program.

“The commissioner emphasized that Williams must fully conform to league rules and will be subject to periodic monitoring to confirm his compliance,” the league said.

With Williams’ return, everyone involved in the scandal has been reinstated.

Williams will be introduced by the Titans at a Thursday afternoon press conference.

“I have known Gregg for over two decades and have seen him work his way up from a quality control coach to a head coach,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said in a statement. “He will bring a great deal of defensive knowledge and energy to our staff. The decision to bring him here only came after going through a thoughtful and thorough process.”

Read More: bounty scandal, Gregg Williams, New Orleans Saints, NFL
Report: Saints plan to hire Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator 02.06.13 at 11:29 am ET
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The Saints are planning to hire former Cowboys assistant coach Rob Ryan as their new defensive coordinator, according to an ESPN report that credits league sources.

Ryan, who was fired as Cowboys defensive coordinator on Jan. 8, said at the time, “I’ll be out of work for like five minutes.” Dallas owner Jerry Jones had said that he would make significant changes to the Cowboys after they finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.

Ryan spoke with the St. Louis Rams earlier in the offseason, but they eventually decided not to hire him. Saints coach Sean Payton said Wednesday on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” that Ryan will interview with the Saints at the end of the week.

Read More: Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Rob Ryan, Rumor Mill
NFL reinstates Saints coach Sean Payton 01.22.13 at 10:37 am ET
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The NFL announced Tuesday morning that commissioner Roger Goodell has reinstated Saints coach Sean Payton, “effective immediately.”

Payton, who was suspended for the entire 2011 season due to his role in the team’s bounty scandal, met with Goodell on Monday. According to the NFL’s release, Payton “acknowledged in the meeting his responsibility for the actions of his coaching staff and players and pledged to uphold the highest standards of the NFL and ensure that his staff and players do so as well.”

Said Goodell: “We had a very productive discussion. Sean fully complied with all the requirements imposed on him during his suspension. More important, it is clear that Sean understands and accepts his responsibilities as a head coach and the vital role that coaches play in promoting player safety and setting an example for how the game should be played at all levels. We are committed to delivering football that fans love and the safety players deserve. Coach Payton agrees and I look forward to working with him going forward to do that.”

Payton released his own statement following the league’s release:

I am thankful today Commissioner Goodell has granted me reinstatement. As I stated back in March, “I, along with Mickey Loomis, take full responsibility for all aspects of our football program.”

I clearly recognize that mistakes were made, which led to league violations. ‘€¨’€¨Furthermore, I have assured the Commissioner a more diligent protocol will be followed.

Lastly, I feel we have learned from our mistakes and are ready to move forward. I want to thank our owner, Mr. Benson and all of our great fans for the overwhelming support throughout this past year.

I am excited to be back as Head Coach of the New Orleans Saints!

Read More: New Orleans Saints, Roger Goodell, Rumor Mill, sean payton
NFL reportedly tells Jonathan Vilma: Drop lawsuit and we’ll reduce suspension 08.06.12 at 10:31 am ET
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The NFL has offered to reduce Jonathan Vilma‘€™s year-long suspension to eight games if the Saints linebacker drops a civil lawsuit charging commissioner Roger Goodell with defamation of character, sources told ESPN’€™s Ed Werder, Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen.

The talks could also lead to reductions in the suspensions of the other three players — Saints defensive end Will Smith (four games), Packers defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove (eight games), and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita (three games).

On Monday, settlement talks are expected to continue between the league, the NFL Players Association and legal representatives for the four players who were suspended for their alleged participation in the team’s bounty program from 2009-2011. Sources say that Friday’s next scheduled appearance before U.S. District Court Judge Ginger Berrigan could serve as a soft deadline to reach a settlement.

While the offer to reduce his suspension was made last week, Vilma has yet to respond.

Read More: Bounty gate, Jonathan Vilma, New Orleans Saints, Roger Goodell
Saints bounty program specifically targeted Cam Newton, Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Kurt Warner 03.21.12 at 7:00 pm ET
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The NFL released more details about the inner workings of the Saints bounty system on Wednesday, revealing that the league’s investigation found New Orleans specifically targeted quarterback Cam Newton in addition to Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre and Kurt Warner.

Rodgers, Favre and Warner were all identified as specific targets when the original announcement of the league’s findings was made March 2, but Newton is a new addition to the list of targeted players.

As a result of the investigation, multiple penalties were levied against the Saints, including an indefinite suspension for former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, a one-year suspension for head coach Sean Payton and a six-game suspension for assistant head coach Joe Vitt.

According to the release, Williams and Vitt not only ran a bounty program; they admitted to intentionally misleading NFL investigators in 2010 and continuing to run the program.

Wednesday’s release from the NFL also revealed just how much Payton knew about the program while it was operating. According to the investigation, Payton received an email before the team’s opener in 2011 that stated “PS Greg Williams put me down for $5000 on Rogers(sic).” The release states that when asked about the email, Payton said it referred to a bounty on Rodgers. That statement contradicts Payton’s comments from earlier this year in which he claimed he did not know about a bounty program within his team.

The release also states that Payton was made aware of the league’s bounty investigation in early 2010. Payton said he told Williams and Vitt to “make sure our ducks are in a row” ahead of an interview with league investigators. The release states that Payton said he never asked the coaches what happened in their interviews, did not ask if a bounty program was in place and did not give any instructions to discontinue the bounty program.

The report says general manager Mickey Loomis told Payton in January 2012 that the league reopened the investigation, and Payton “took no action to ensure that any bounty program was discontinued.”

The league maintained in the release that Saints ownership remained ignorant of the bounty program.

“There is no evidence that Saints ownership had any knowledge of the pay-for-performance or bounty program. There is no evidence that any club funds were used for the program. Ownership made clear that it disapproved of the program, gave prompt and clear direction that it stop, and gave full and immediate cooperation to league investigators.”

Read More: Cam Newton, Gregg Williams, Joe Vitt, Mickey Loomis
New Orleans shaken by NFL punishments for bounty scandal at 4:56 pm ET
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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell showed how serious he is about ridding the NFL of bounty systems when he announced the punishments levied against the Saints organization as a result of the New Orleans bounty system.

The penalties were severe, ranging from a one-year suspension for head coach Sean Payton, an indefinite suspension for former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, an eight-game ban for general manager Mickey Loomis and a six-game ban for assistant coach Joe Vitt. The Saints also lost two years of second-round draft picks and have to pay a $500,000 fine to the league.

The repercussions of those penalties are hitting the New Orleans area hard.

In an interview with NFL Network’s Jay Glazer, Payton said he was stunned by the severity of the punishment and told Glazer “I’m not OK.”

Quarterback Drew Brees (@drewbrees) shared his reaction on Twitter, saying, I am speechless. Sean Payton is a great man, coach, and mentor. The best there is. I need to hear and explanation for this.

Punter Thomas Morstead (@thomasmorstead) also reacted via Twitter. This is unbelievable!!! Feels like I just got punched in the gut, Morestead wrote. A few hours later, Morstead added, This will make for a great story when we win it all this year’€¦ Coming back strong’€¦Again! #whodat #Saints

Linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar (@JDunbar56) tweeted, Can we all say #excessive. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Drew Brees, Gregg Williams, Mickey Loomis, New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees contract could be an issue for Saints 02.29.12 at 12:05 pm ET
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The Saints and quarterback Drew Brees are still far apart in negotiations on a long-term contract, according to a report from ESPN.

If the two sides cannot agree upon a deal by Monday, the Saints would have to use their franchise tag on Brees. That’s something they likely want to avoid because two other key cogs in their offensive machine, wide receiver Marques Colston and Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks, are free agents.

Brees, who set NFL single-season records in passing yards, completions, and completion percentage last season, sounded optimistic last week in a report from the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

“There’s no doubt in my mind we’ll get a deal done,” Brees said. “I think there’s been progress made. But just like everything it’s a process. It takes time. It’s not something that happens overnight.”

Read More: Drew Brees, Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints, Rumor Mill