New Orleans Saints  

 

No timetable set for punishment in NFL's investigation of Saints

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson and head coach Sean Payton met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and league security in New York on Monday regarding the ongoing investigation into the "bounty" scandal, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. 

Benson and Payton met with league officials over the weekend, as well, according to the source.

The NFL's investigation continues to be categorized as "ongoing," however it is unclear whether or not these discussions entail more fact finding or if Benson and Payton are being briefed about the expected forthcoming sanctions that could include fines, the loss of draft picks and suspensions.

Benson and Sean Payton requested the meeting with Goodell "and the commissioner agreed to meet," according to team spokesman Greg Bensel.

Benson and Payton have returned to New Orleans.

Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis, the Saints organization and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams -- currently the Rams defensive coordinator and the central figure in the case -- were all cited for "conduct detrimental" to the league by the NFL after a months-long investigation.

Loomis and Payton issued a joint statement last week accepting responsibility. Williams also issued a statement saying the "pay for performance" program happened under his watch, that he was involved and that he failed to stop the practice that is against league rules. The league also cited 22 to 27 players for partaking in the "bounty" program from 2009 to 2011, which was primarily funded by the players, according to the report.

Players were rewarded for making big plays but also for trying to injure players, according to the league's findings. Awards of $1,000 to $1,500 were said to be available for players whose hits resulted in opponents being carted off the field or knocked out of a game completely. The league's investigation singled out linebacker Jonathan Vilma for offering up $10,000 in bounty money.

An NFL source said that the players will be dealt with accordingly and also are culpable, even though executives and coaches have primarily been the ones mentioned.

The NFLPA plans to conduct its own investigation in order to find out whether or not players were persuaded or "coerced" into participating in the program. No timetable has been set for punishment to be handed down, however, it is believed that it is coming sooner rather than later so the Saints and the Rams (in Williams' case) can re-organize their coaching staffs and rosters as needed.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89

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