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Gregg Williams hired by Titans after NFL reinstatement 02.07.13 at 1:28 pm ET
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Gregg Williams

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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Rob Ryan

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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Sean Payton

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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Drew Brees

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
Saints’ Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas out against Steelers 10.31.10 at 2:29 pm ET
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The Saints will be missing some key play makers on offense against a tough Steelers defense on Sunday. Running backs Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas will not play on Sunday, reports Sports Illustrated.

Bush has missed recent weeks with a fractured fibula in his right leg but had hoped to return to action this week. Bush could return for next week’s match up against Carolina or the team may decide to give him an extra week of rest during the team’s Week 10 bye week. That would push Bush’s expected return to the Saints’ Week 11 game against Seattle.

Thomas is still nursing a sprained ankle from Week 3 and he has not played since. There is no timetable for his return and he is still using crutches to keep weight off of his feet.

Read More: New Orleans Saints, Pierre Thomas, Pittsburgh Steelers, Reggie Bush
Saints fans aim for Halloween world record Sunday night 10.29.10 at 9:05 pm ET
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When the Saints and Steelers meet Sunday night in New Orleans, the fans will share the spotlight. The team invited fans to dress up in Halloween costumes, and a representative from Guinness Wold Records will be on hand to verify the world’s largest Halloween gathering. The current record, set at an Indiana bar, is 508.

NBC, which is broadcasting the game on Sunday Night Football, will have a “costume cam” to let viewers see the record-setting outfits up close.

Read More: New Orleans Saints, Rumor Mill,
Saints’ Malcolm Jenkins, Vikings’ Ray Edwards fined by NFL 10.23.10 at 9:30 am ET
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More fines and controversy follow the NFL entering Week 7, reports Sports Illustrated. The NFL fined Minnesota defensive end Ray Edwards and New Orleans cornerback Malcolm Jenkins on Friday. Edwards was fined $20,000 for spearing Cowboys running back Marion Barber while Jenkins was fined $10,000 for an unnecessary roughness hit on Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman.

Titans defensive end William Hayes was fined $10,000 for a late hit while fellow teammate Dave Ball was fined $5,000 for roughing the passer. Three Houston players were fined for $5,000 as well and even Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb was fined $5,000 for a horse-collar tackle against Falcons defender William Moore.

The fines come after James Harrison, Dunta Robinson, and Brandon Meriweather provoked significant fines for illegal hits in Week 6. Harrison’s fine was the highest at $75,000 and the Steelers’ star received much media attention after threatening to retire given the NFL’s new stance on illegal hits.

Entering Week 7, players can be subjected to fines and suspensions for illegal and unnecessary hits that endanger fellow players.

Read More: Brandon Meriweather, James Harrison, Kevin Kolb, Malcolm Jenkins