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Tag:Joe Vitt
Posted on: March 6, 2012 9:55 pm
 

More nuggets on Saints' bounties come to light

Gregg Williams wasn't the only one to get hooked by the NFL on the bounty pools in New Orleans.  (AP)
By Josh Katzowitz

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King has an interesting story on the NFL’s investigation into the pay-for-performance ring* instigated by about two dozen Saints players and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and some of the details that are unearthed are worth noting because it’s the first we’ve heard of them.

*I will not call it Bounty-gate. I will not call it Bounty-gate. I will not call it Bounty-gate. 

First off, read the first two paragraphs of the story, because it paints a tremendous picture of how the rewards were distributed in front of the entire defense and how, sometimes, the Saints would urge the honoree to put the money back into the pool instead of accepting it.

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
Aside from that chilling color, here are few more nuggets reported by King.

-During the 2009 NFC title game vs. the Vikings -- played in January 2010 -- in which New Orleans defensive linemen Bobby McCray and Remi Ayodel high-lowed Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre and badly spraining his ankle, defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, after Favre temporarily left the game, excitedly proclaimed “Favre is out of the game! Favre is done! Favre is done!”

As King also writes, “An on-field microphone directed toward the sideline caught an unidentified defender saying, ‘Pay me my money!’”

-As we know, the investigation was halted for lack of evidence -- because everybody involved basically denied the bounty pool’s existence -- but it’s interesting to note how the NFL began looking into it in the first place. After the Vikings playoff game, Minnesota officials informed the league that it had information that a bounty had been placed on Favre and a bounty had been placed on Kurt Warner the week before.

Williams, Hargrove and assistant head coach/linebackers Joe Vitt all denied the allegations, and apparently, the investigators told Saints general manager Mickey Loomis to make sure there was no bound program. Loomis said he would.

Obviously, he didn’t. Which means he not only apparently lied to his boss but he also apparently lied to NFL officials. When the investigation started up again in last season’s playoffs, Saints owner Tom Benson told the NFL he would contact Loomis to make sure there was no bounty program.

-King also talked to Scott Fujita, who’s been very active on the player safety front. And who happened to be a big-time contributor (between $2,000-$10,000) to the bounty pool in New Orleans.

"Over the years I've paid out a lot of money for big plays like interceptions, sacks and special teams tackles inside the 20,” Fujita told King. “But I've never made a payment for intentionally injuring another player."

Still, paying into a bounty like that sort of clouds the message of player safety, doesn't it?

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Posted on: May 27, 2011 7:14 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2011 7:32 pm
 

Saints coaches 'appalled' by NFLCA appeals brief

Posted by Ryan Wilson

A brief recap of This Week in Lockout News:

Wednesday: The NFL Coaches Association filed an amicus brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the players' request to lift the lockout.

Thursday: The Redskins' coaching staff issued a statement clarifying their position relative to the NFLCA brief: "We stand united with our ownership and the brief does not reflect our thoughts on the matter." NFL Network's Albert Breer reported that 17 members of Washington's staff signed the letter, although head coach Mike Shanahan wasn't one of them.

Friday: The Saints became the latest team to speak out against the NFLCA brief, this time without the PR filter written statements usually provide.

New Orleans linebackers coach Joe Vitt said Saints' assistants were "appalled" by the NFLCA's decision to file a brief, the Times-Picayune's Mike Triplett writes.
"It was awful presumptuous on their part that they would represent all the coaches on our staff," Vitt said of the NFLCA, which is led by former NFL assistant Larry Kennan, who served as the Saints' tight ends coach in 1995.

"We're supporting the owners," Vitt said. "I've said this a million times, our organization has been built on trust. (Owner Tom) Benson has been great to us. Unequivocally, we support our ownership."
Therein lies one of the problems with the NFLCA not representing all NFL coaches. As Triplett points out, coaches can choose to belong to the union, and Vitt said that Saints' assistants collectively agreed not to join back in 2006. So just because the NFLCA issues a statement (or in this case, files a brief), there's no reason to expect solidarity among the coaches. There's no executive director in the mold of the NFLPA's DeMaurice Smith who, like him or not, has the players mobilized behind the "decertify and let the courts sort it out" strategy.

Another, bigger problem: communicating clearly. Kennan, appearing Friday on Sirius XM NFL Radio, told co-hosts Jim Miller and Alex Marvez that "I emailed all the coaches to tell them we were going to do this. However, I didn’t do a very good job of communicating with the Redskins. … It kind of caught them blindsided. Before they had a chance to read the Amicus brief and see that it was strictly about being for coaches, they panicked a little bit and maybe got some outside pressure to do something.”

Also worth noting: Kennan made his comments before Vitt spoke out against the NFLCA to the Times-Picayune.

Kennan continued: “If there were a whole bunch of teams [protesting], I’d be concerned. I’m not concerned about one. I know what happened there. They didn’t have all the facts. A lot of us make decisions because we’re in a pressure situation and get caught up reading about something and don’t have all the information.”

Perhaps. But in two days since the filing, two coaching staffs have come out in support of their owners. If the 'Skins and Saints are any indication, it's reasonable to think other staffs will be coming forward soon, too.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com