The players cited by the NFL in the New Orleans Saints "bounty" scandal are expected to face discipline, but the announcement of their punishment could come after the league sanctions executives, coaches and the organization, a source with knowledge of the situation said Saturday.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could rule as soon as Monday against Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, coach Sean Payton and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams -- now with the St. Louis Rams. All have acknowledged the pay-for-performance "bounty" program in statements after the league announced the scathing findings of its months-long investigation March 2.
Suspensions, fines and the loss of draft picks are all possibilities -- if not probabilities.
The league could hold off on announcing punishment for the 22 to 27 players, possibly because of the sheer volume of players involved. The NFL Players Association asked the NFL not to discipline players before it conducted its own investigation, but that request isn't believed to factor heavily into the possible delay in the punishment toward players.
A league official said players will be held culpable since they primarily funded the bounty pool, which, according to the league investigation, rewarded players for big plays and injuring opponents.
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