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Saints GM Loomis says team won't ditch LB Vilma for Lofton

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Linebacker Curtis Lofton joined the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, but general manager Mickey Loomis quelled any concerns that his team would sever ties with Jonathan Vilma, who plays the same position.

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Vilma's name appeared in the NFL's release announcing the punishments for Saints personnel, including Loomis, for their role in a bounty scandal. According to a Sports Illustrated report, Vilma allegedly offered $10,000 to any Saints player who could knock then-Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of a playoff game.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he will announce player suspensions at a later date, and Vilma could be in line to be punished. Vikings punter Chris Kluwe called for the league to hand Vilma a lifetime ban.

But Vilma's standing with the Saints has not changed, Loomis said.

"(Vilma) is still a big part of our team. A top player and leader for us," Loomis said, according to The Times-Picayune.

NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reported Wednesday that the Saints had been looking for players to fill in for Vilma should he be forced to miss games.

In a release, Loomis also cited Lofton's "ability to play all three linebacker positions" as one of the primary reasons the Saints brought in the four-year veteran.



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