Tag:Mickey Loomis
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: March 6, 2012 5:17 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 5:50 pm
 

Payton, Loomis take 'full responsibility'

Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis have promised never to allow a bounty program in their organization again. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Since the Saints bounty program news broke last Friday, New Orleans coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis have not commented. On late Tuesday  afternoon, they broke their silence, releasing a joint statement through the Saints PR department.

Basically, Payton and Loomis are taking full responsibility. 

Here is the statement:
We acknowledge that the violations disclosed by the NFL during their investigation of our club happened under our watch. We take full responsibility.

This has brought undue hardship on Mr. (Tom) Benson, who had nothing to do with this activity. He has been nothing but supportive and for that we both apologize to him.

These are serious violations and we understand the negative impact it has had on our game. Both of us have made it clear within our organization that this will never happen again, and make that same promise to the NFL and most importantly to all of our fans.

Mickey Loomis & Sean Payton

You’ll recall that Gregg Williams also apologized in a statement last week, saying, “I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the 'pay for performance' program while I was with the Saints. It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.”

It is interesting, though, that the only person to whom they apologize is Benson. Not to Roger Goodell or the fans or the players that might have been physically hurt by the bounties.

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 6:27 pm
 

Report: Drew Brees is livid about tag, won't sign

This is Drew Brees' 'Wait, you really did franchise me?!' face. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

There were reports last week that the Saints and franchise quarterback Drew Brees were about $5 million per year apart on a new contract. General manager Mickey Loomis, who according to a Yahoo story thought of Brees as "very good" but not great, later told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that “I have always thought of Drew as a great player. Always."

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
Four days ago, this was easily the organization's biggest issue.

Then news broke that former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was involved in a "pay for performance" bounty program, head coach Sean Payton and Loomis knew about it, and the Brees situation suddenly seemed less important. But the franchise tag waits for no man; scandals or not, the Saints had until 4 p.m. ET Monday to work out a new deal with Brees, franchise him, or let him hit the open market. New Orleans opted for the franchise tag and Brees isn't happy about it.

Details via CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Larry Holder:

"Brees is 'livid' about being … tagged and not receiving a long-term contract, according to WIST-AM in New Orleans. The radio station cites sources in the Brees camp that he will not sign the franchise tag deal. Brees and the Saints have until July 15 to hammer out a long-term deal. If a deal isn't struck, Brees must sign the franchise tag deal or hold out. "

It's rare that holding out is in the player's best interests; in general, the team has all the power but this could be a case where Brees is in a position to get exactly what he wants (and maybe more). Exacerbating matters for the Saints: the possible league sanctions the organization could face in light of the bounty program. If players are suspended and draft picks forfeited, New Orleans will need Brees more than ever. (It gets worse: two of the Saints' best offensive players, Carl Nicks and Marques Colston, are headed for free agency.)

Under the franchise tag that Brees reportedly has no intentions of signing, he's scheduled to make $15 million. In theory, the two sides have until July 16 to bang out a long-term contract but if Brees really is "livid" he may be in no mood to negotiate. Never mind the impending sanctions Roger Goodell might have in store for New Orleans, if Brees isn't the quarterback, the 2012 Saints will look a lot like the 2011 Colts. (Upside: they'll be perfectly positioned for a run at Matt Barkley!)

In the meantime, we'll reiterate what CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman wrote last week: "What the hell are the Saints doing? I've said this before. There are certain players, only a handful, where you open the vault and roll out the cash. You give them a blank check. Brees is one of those players. Franchising Brees is going to anger him, no question. Players despise the tag because it limits their earning potential. So you've ticked off your best player. For what? Why?"

Why indeed.

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Posted on: March 3, 2012 3:46 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2012 6:11 pm
 

Loomis confirms Saints have tagged Drew Brees

Brees reportedly won't be happy if he gets tagged. (Getty Images)
By Josh Katzowitz

The Saints contract dispute with quarterback Drew Brees could continue on for a while now, as New Orleans general manager Mickey Loomis confirmed, via CBSSports.com's Larry Holder, that New Orleans has placed the franchise tag on its franchise player.

This news, originally reported by Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, comes as a bit of a surprise, simply because the potential of the tag upsetting Brees is so high and because common sense told us that eventually the two sides would come to an agreement. But if the organization has tagged Brees, the two sides must have been far apart in their contract negotiations.

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
Like, I don’t know, $5 million a year apart, as CBSSports.com’s Ryan Wilson told us the other day?

All is not lost, though, because the team and Brees have until July 16 to work out a long-term deal that would erase him having to play under the tag (if not, Brees will make about $15 million for 2012, because it's an exclusive tag, meaning he can't talk to other teams).

Otherwise, if they can’t come to an agreement, could this spell Brees’ potential departure from New Orleans after the 2012 seasno?

As CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman opined, "What the hell are the Saints doing? I've said this before. There are certain players, only a handful, where you open the vault and roll out the cash. You give them a blank check. Brees is one of those players. Franchising Brees is going to anger him, no question. Players despise the tag because it limits their earning potential. So you've ticked off your best player. For what? Why?"

Of course, the Saints role as the bad guy was diminished a bit Friday (ahem, before the Saints role as the bad guy REALLY increased) by Larry Holder’s report that the Saints actually offered to make Brees the highest-paid player in the NFL but that Brees and his agent, Tom Condon, had turned down New Orleans.

Which didn't shock CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco, who wrote, "Let's get off this Brees-is-the-savior of New Orleans talk while we're at it. If this negotiation has taught us anything, it's that all players -- no matter what image they portray -- are in it for themselves.
Never forget that."

While tagging Brees would be bad for the Saints and for Brees, guard Carl Nicks is likely ecstatic by this latest news.

And that's really the other tough part for the franchise. Having to use its tag on Brees means the Saints likely will lose top-notch guard Carl Nicks and very well could have to say goodbye to receiver Marques Colston. Two more reasons why nobody in New Orleans should be happy with this development.

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Posted on: March 2, 2012 3:30 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 4:10 pm
 

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

According to the NFL, New Orleans coach Sean Payton didn't try to stop the bounty program, while owner Tom Benson, center, did try but ultimately failed.  (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

In a stunning announcement, the NFL has released the news of an investigation into a team-wide bounty program in New Orleans in which at least one coach and about two dozen players conspired to intentionally hurt opponents and knock them out of the game for money.

Between 22 and 27 players, and at least one assistant coach maintained this “pay for performance” bounty program, violating league rules in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

And the knowledge of the program reaches all the way into the owners box. Saints owner Tom Benson -- who was cited by the league as giving his “immediate and full cooperation to investigators” -- told general manager Mickey Loomis to end the program immediately when he became aware of it in 2011. According to the NFL, “the evidence showed that Mr. Loomis did not carry out Mr. Benson’s directions. Similarly, when the initial allegations were discussed with Mr. Loomis in 2010, he denied any knowledge of a bounty program and pledged that he would ensure that no such program was in place. There is no evidence that Mr. Loomis took any effective action to stop these practices.”

According to the NFL, the funds of the bounty pool -- to which players regularly contributed and which was administered by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now with the Rams -- might have reached as high as $50,000 during the 2009 playoffs. If a player knocked out an opponent, they received $1,500. If an opponent had to be taken off on a cart, a player was paid $1,000. Those payouts could double or triple during the playoffs.

“Our investigation began in early 2010 when allegations were first made that Saints players had targeted opposing players, including Kurt Warner of the Cardinals and Brett Favre of the Vikings,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Our security department interviewed numerous players and other individuals. At the time, those interviewed denied that any such program existed and the player that made the allegation retracted his earlier assertions. As a result, the allegations could not be proven. We recently received significant and credible new information and the investigation was re-opened during the latter part of the 2011 season.” 

The NFL also found that coach Sean Payton was not a direct participant in the bounty program but that he didn’t make an attempt to learn about it or stop it when NFL investigators began asking about it.

Now, it’s up to Goodell to dole out the possible punishment. He has told the Saints that he will hold more proceedings and meet with the NFLPA and individual player leaders to discuss the appropriate discipline.

The league notes that “the discipline could include fines and suspensions and, in light of the competitive nature of the violation, forfeiture of draft choices. … Any appeal would be heard and decided by the commissioner.”

Said Goodell: “The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,’ but also for injuring opposing players. The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.

“It is our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of our game, and this type of conduct will not be tolerated. We have made significant progress in changing the culture with respect to player safety and we are not going to relent. We have more work to do and we will do it.”

Here's Benson's statement on the matter: "I have been made aware of the NFL's findings relative to the 'bounty rule' and how it relates to our club. I have offered and the NFL has received our full cooperation in their investigation. While the findings may be troubling, we look forward to putting this behind us and winning more championships in the future for our fans."

For what it's worth, here is one of the last attempts of Warner's career.



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Posted on: March 2, 2012 12:50 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 1:28 pm
 

Saints offered to make Brees highest-paid player

Did Brees really turn down Mickey Loomis' offer to make him the highest-paid NFL player? (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

With the report Thursday that the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees are $5 million per year apart on contract negotiations, CBSSports.com’s Larry Holder has the news that New Orleans offered Brees a contract before the 2011 season that would have made him the highest-paid player in the NFL and that Brees and his agent, Tom Condon, turned it down.

“He (general manager Mickey Loomis) offered Brees the highest paid contract in NFL history,” a source told Holder. “Does that not equate with great or elite?”

NFL News, Notes
In a Yahoo Sports report Thursday, Jason Cole cited multiple sources that said that Loomis was trying to devalue Brees by saying only he is a “very good” quarterback as opposed to a “great” one.

Cole also speculated that Saints owner Tom Benson might have to step into the negotiations to make sure both sides were satisfied with a new contract. New Orleans, of course, could franchise tag Brees, but Brees obviously wouldn’t be happy with that decision.

Plus, that would make it tougher for the team to keep guard Carl Nicks and receiver Marques Colston if the only way for the Saints to avoid sending Brees to free agency was to tag him.

As CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman wrote, “What the hell are the Saints doing? I've said this before. There are certain players, only a handful, where you open the vault and roll out the cash. You give them a blank check. Brees is one of those players. Franchising Brees is going to anger him, no question. Players despise the tag because it limits their earning potential. So you've ticked off your best player. For what? Why?”

But now we have to wonder why Brees and Condon would turn down the richest deal in the league and what they expect to actually get in return for Brees playing.

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Posted on: March 1, 2012 8:54 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 10:23 am
 

Report: Saints, Brees $5M apart per year on deal

GM Mickey Loomis reportely thinks Brees is a 'very good' quarterback. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com/US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

We're 12 days away from free agency, and the Saints and franchise quarterback Drew Brees are "roughly $5 million a year apart" on a new contract, according to Yahoo.com's Jason Cole.

CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman said as much Wednesday, adding that the differences could lead New Orleans to franchise Brees. It's an odd way to treat the guy primarily responsible for saving the organization in post-Katrina New Orleans. The same guy, by the way, who is two months removed from breaking Dan Marino's single-season passing record, and two years removed from leading the Saints to a Super Bowl.

All this prompted Freeman to ask: "What the hell are the Saints doing?"

Fair question.  "I've said this before," Freeman continued. "There are certain players, only a handful, where you open the vault and roll out the cash. You give them a blank check. Brees is one of those players. Franchising Brees is going to anger him, no question. Players despise the tag because it limits their earning potential. So you've ticked off your best player. For what? Why?"

Because, in an inexplicable turn of events, the Saints, according to Cole, are "privately trying to sell itself on the notion that Brees is simply a 'very good' quarterback."

Oh my. A quick refresher: between 1967 and 2005 (the year before Brees arrived), New Orleans made the playoffs a grand total of five times. In 38 years. They've been to the postseason three times since, including one Lombardi Trophy.

Cole writes Thursday that the "very good" quarterback meme "was the word coming out of the NFL scouting combine this past week, when Saints general manager Mickey Loomis tried to define Brees as 'very good' when the quarterback was called “great,” according to three league sources. All three sources were asking Loomis why it was taking so long to sign Brees to a contract extension. Loomis’ answer spoke volumes."

Cole thinks Loomis' foot-dragging will necessitate owner Tom Benson stepping in to fix things. Fortunately, he remembers what the pre-Brees Saints were like.

“Benson knows where this team was 15 years ago and he sees where it is now. He has to make the call. Mickey is not going to do it," a league insider told Cole.

This also means that the team can't move forward with Marques Colston or Carl Nicks, two important pieces to New Orleans' high-powered offense. It's likely that Colston will hit free agency while the team will franchise Nicks (not surprisingly, he's against it), but this assumes that a Brees deal gets done before March 5 (the last day a team can use the franchise tag).

The latest news coupled with the Colston/Nicks situation prompted CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco to tweet this:

PriscoCBS
Just a thought: If Drew Brees really is Mr. New Orleans, shouldn't he get a long-term deal done so others can get signed?
3/1/12 8:03 PM

PriscoCBS
Having said that, If Brees is smart he won't do it.
3/1/12 8:03 PM

Whatever happens, the Saints have to sign Brees. Because without him, this team will be our early favorites for the Matt Barkley sweepstakes. (Hey, it worked for the Colts!) By the way: if Brees is "very good," what does that make backup Chase Daniel?

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Posted on: August 31, 2010 12:10 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 12:53 pm
 

Saints DL coach will miss the next month

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

On the heels of the news that Browns NT Shaun Rogers won’t face a suspension, Saints DL coach Travis Jones will be harshly punished for his role in a real estate scheme that affected more than 40 people in Texas, costing them millions of dollars while making him more than $85,000.

So writes the New Orleans Times Picayune , which quotes GM Mickey Loomis as saying that Jones is cooperating with federal agents and will participate in a program that will educate others in the NFL about his experience.

In case you forgot what happened, the Associated Press has a good recap of the crime Jones committed (Jones, for the record, already has pleaded guilty).

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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