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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
Judge delays ruling in Jonathan Vilma case, urges sides to settle 08.10.12 at 8:42 pm ET
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In the most recent stage of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma‘s suit against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, a federal judge has delayed ruling on the case.

The U.S. District Judge, Ginger Berrigan, also urged both sides to settle. She can hand down a ruling at any time to allow Vilma to play this season. Berrigan said she believes Vilma’s one-year sentence is too extreme.

Goodell suspended Vilma for a year for his alleged involvement in the Saints bounty scandal. Vilma appealed the decision, trying to return to the Saints this season. He also sued Goodell, citing defamation.

The NFL PA also filed a suit, claiming Goodell made judgments the CBA does not allow him to make.

In addition to Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Scott Fujita, Will Smith and Saints coach Sean Payton have all been suspended for at least three games. Payton was suspended for the season.

Read More: Anthony Hargrove, Ginger Berrigan, Jonathan Vilma, Roger Goodell
Report: Bills, Redskins escape bounty investigation without penalty 08.02.12 at 9:23 am ET
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It looks like only the Saints will be penalized for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams‘ bounty programs.

According to the Washington Post’s Mark Maske, both the Bills and Redskins were reportedly under investigation by the NFL to see if Williams had similar programs with those teams, but the two franchises apparently will escape the situation unscathed.

The NFL ‘€œfollowed up” on the Redskins situation but discovered, ‘€œno evidence of the type of program that existed at the Saints,’€ Maske’s source said. ‘€œUnlike the Saints case, there was no independent, multiple corroboration of statements made in the media.’€

The source said the Bills also are in the clear, but that source noted that the league is open to taking action against either franchise if new information is discovered in the future. It also was reported that there was no ongoing investigation by the NFL.

In March, the Buffalo News reported that Williams had a similar bounty situation in place when he was head coach of the Bills from 2001 to 2003.

Williams, who was the Redskins defensive coordinator from 2004 to 2007, was suspended indefinitely from the league for his role in the Saints bounty program. Along with Williams, coach Sean Payton was suspended for the 2012 season, GM Mickey Loomis was suspended for half of the 2012 season and assistant coach Joe Vitt was banned for eight games in 2012.

Read More: Gregg Williams, Rumor Mill, sean payton,
Drew Brees says NFL bounty probe lacks concrete evidence 06.27.12 at 10:46 am ET
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Saints quarterback Drew Brees said the NFL has yet to present concrete evidence of a bounty program instituted by the Saints.

“How can everybody think that when there’s been no proof that’s been put forth thus far?” he said. “There’s been an investigation; there’s been a lot of stuff put in the media as to what was going on. But is there any proof to back that up? No, there’s not. Not yet.”

Greg Aiello, the NFL’s spokesman, responded to Bree’s comments by backing the investigation in an email the media.

“The investigation was thorough and includes statements from multiple sources with firsthand knowledge about the details of the program, corroborating documentation and other evidence,” Aiello said. “The enforcement of the bounty rule is important to protect players that are put at risk by this kind of scheme. Certainly, Drew Brees would not want to be the target in a bounty scheme and that is why we must eliminate bounties from football.”

The Saints have already faced discipline for the bounty scandal, as New Orleans coach Sean Payton and linebacker Jonathan Vilma received suspensions for a year. Vilma also filed a defamation lawsuit against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Brees said coaches testifying on the bounty scandal were coerced by fear of their careers, rendering their testimonies questionable. He added the NFL should come forward with definitive proof or clear the names of those accused.

“It seems like there was a pre-determined conclusion the NFL had as opposed to just going out and find the facts,” Brees told Good Morning America. “A lot of that stuff is being uncovered now that a lot of the things they’re bringing forward are not valid.”

Read More: Drew Brees, Greg Aiello, Jonathan Vilma, sean payton
Steelers’ James Harrison: Jonathan Vilma’s lawsuit is ‘win-win’ 05.25.12 at 3:46 pm ET
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Steelers linebacker James Harrison, notorious for his questionable hits as well as criticism of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, said Wednesday that Jonathan Vilma‘s lawsuit can help the players even if the Saints linebacker loses.

“It is really a win-win, whether [Vilma] wins the case or if he loses it,” Harrison told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review following an OTA. “If he loses it, it shows that Goodell does have too much power, and if he wins it, it opens up the floodgates.”

Vilma’s lawsuit is another extension of the NFL’s bounty scandal, in which the Saints set up a system that encouraged and rewarded players for harming opponents. The lawsuit claims Goodell’s statements about Vilma were false and damaging to his reputation.

Harrison criticized the penalties handed down to Saints coach Sean Payton and Vilma, saying they were much harsher than the punishment given to the team as a whole.

“He only gave the team a half-million dollar fine and two second-round draft picks, and that’s a billion-dollar organization,” Harrison said. “But yet you take a whole year’s pay away from the guy that is below him and you take a whole year’s pay away from the head coach. But the actual team themselves, you slap them on the wrist.”

Harrison has been fined by the NFL on multiple occasions for dangerous hits. He was suspended in December for an illegal hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.

Read More: Colt McCoy, James Harrison, Jonathan Vilma, Roger Goodell
Report: Saints owner Tom Benson to buy Hornets from NBA 04.13.12 at 12:24 pm ET
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According to a report from USA Today, Saints owner Tom Benson will branch out to basketball and become the sole owner of the Hornets, buying the team from the NBA for $338 million.

The report indicates that the sale needs to be approved at Friday’s Board of Governors meeting in New York.

The NBA bought the Hornets for approximately $318 million from George Shinn in 2010 and has operated the franchise since then.

The report comes one day after Benson’s Saints announced that assistant coach Joe Vitt will serve as interim head coach for Sean Payton despite facing a six-game suspension for his role in the team’s bounty scandal. Payton’s year-long suspension begins Monday.

Read More: Joe Vitt, Rumor Mill, sean payton, Tom Benson
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
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Arguments, injuries for NFL coaches Sunday 10.17.11 at 8:00 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY MONDAY:
No games scheduled

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ It was a tough day for NFL coaches Sunday. The big news was fired-up 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh instigating a confrontation with Lions coach Jim Schwartz with his obnoxious handshake after San Francisco’s big win.

Schwartz responded by chasing after Harbaugh, causing players to step in and separate the pair.

In Tampa, Saints coach Sean Payton suffered a broken leg and torn knee ligament after a sideline collision during New Orleans’ loss to the Buccaneers.

Here’s one more: Eagles coach Andy Reid is stung by a gut punch from a celebrating LeSean McCoy. At least the Eagles won, beating the Redskins.

‘™¦ Former Knicks forward Charles Oakley is not convinced the current members of the team have what it takes to restore New York to a title-contending level. Oakley said the West Coast style of coach Mike D’Antoni and star Amar’e Stoudemire won’t last in the East. “They’€™ve got hype,” Oakley said. “But hype don’€™t win nothing.” Oakley, who was an assistant coach with Bobcats last season, said he wants to help his old team but the Knicks “don’t want nothing to do with me.” He then took a shot at former team president Isiah Thomas. “I don’€™t understand how he even got a job with management,’€ Oakley said. ‘€œHe had nothing to do with the Knicks, then he talked bad about the Knicks. … If I see him, he’€™d better turn around and go the other way.”

‘™¦ The Associated Press college football poll is celebrating its 75th anniversary this fall. AP sports columnist Jim Litke takes a look at the controversy the poll has stirred up through the years.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Oct. 17, 2004, the Red Sox began their historic comeback against the Yankees with a 6-4 victory in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, highlighted by a run in the ninth off Mariano Rivera to force extra innings. David Ortiz won it in the 12th with a two-run home run off which former Red Sox pitcher?

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Andy Reid, Jim Harbaugh, Jim Schwartz, sean payton
Saints say Sean Payton is not going anywhere 02.07.11 at 9:39 am ET
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The Saints released a statement Sunday night addressing rumors that coach Sean Payton was set to leave the team to take a position with the Cowboys.

“Sean Payton is the coach of the New Orleans Saints,” team spokesman Greg Bensel said in the statement. “He will not be going to the Dallas Cowboys in any capacity.”

Although the rumors were never reported by any major media outlets, they gained enough momentum on Facebook, Twitter and online message boards to force the Saints to respond, according to WDSU.com.

Read More: Rumor Mill, sean payton,