New Orleans Saints  

 

Payton, Saints, Loomis, Vitt appealing 'bounty' penalties

The New Orleans Saints and general manager Mickey Loomis followed head coach Sean Payton in appealing their penalties stemming from the "bounty" scandal that engulfed the franchise from 2009 through 2011.

The Saints, fined $500,000 and docked two second-round draft picks, and Loomis, suspended the first eight games of the 2012 season, are appealing their punishments separately to the league, Saints vice president of communications Greg Bensel said Friday. Bensel confirmed "that the team and Mickey Loomis albeit separately have respectfully filed an appeal with the league."

A league source said earlier in the day that Payton was appealing his season-long suspension.

Payton and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams were disciplined by the league for a "bounty" program that the team ran from 2009 to 2011. Williams, who was suspended indefinitely by the league, will not appeal, according to a league source. Assistant coach Joe Vitt, who received a six-game suspension, will appeal, according to a statement issued by his attorney, David Cornwell. Cornwell would not comment to NFL.com's Steve Wyche on whether they are trying to get Vitt's suspension overturned or reduced.

The deadline to appeal for all parties, including Payton, was April 2.

Williams reached his decision not to appeal after mulling his options and discussing it with confidants. His status will be reviewed by Commissioner Roger Goodell at the end of the 2012 season.

Payton is expected to seek guidance on the amount of time he will have to prepare his appeal, and will attempt to obtain the full reports from NFL security regarding the bounty evidence against him.

Williams and Payton have not seen the entirety of the voluminous reports outlining the league's investigation of the Saints, according to numerous sources with knowledge of the case. However, extensive materials were made available to them when they met with NFL officials.

Payton spent several hours meeting with investigators and perused the evidence against him over a long period of time. Much of the 50,000 pages of documents in the case are extraneous; according to a source with knowledge of the case, Payton, Williams and Vitt were given the information that was most relevant to them in the letters initially sent to them by the commissioner.

NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith has not seen the full contents of the report either, but he has been given materials pertaining to player involvement, according to a source. Smith has yet to accept an open invitation from the league to come to the NFL offices and go over further documentation with investigators.

Payton's suspension was set to begin April 1, but Payton and Williams both had until April 2 to appeal. Goodell made it clear in remarks to the media earlier this week that the appeals process will be expedited, though he said that Payton could continue to work through that process. Sources said the process is unlikely to last more than a week or so.

Darlington: Opportunity knocks
As the Saints deal with bounty fallout, Jeff Darlington says the Bucs and Panthers could rise in the NFC South. More ...

According to Wyche, the NFL will not comment on Payton's appeal.

Payton's suspension is for the 2012 season but is not a 12-month suspension, the NFL clarified to Wyche on Friday. Payton is eligible to return next February after the Super Bowl -- which will be played in New Orleans.

According to NFL Network's Albert Breer, Smith and the NFLPA's lawyers met individually with Saints quarterback Drew Brees and defensive end Will Smith and former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita at a player rep meeting last week in Marco Island, Fla. Fujita is currently with the Cleveland Browns.

Union sources told Breer that the NFLPA has been frustrated with the lack of information available on the case.

Bill Parcells, who has been discussed as a possible candidate to be interim coach while Payton is out, has said he still has not formally received an offer from the Saints.

The league has also said up to 27 Saints players were involved in the program, but has yet to announce their punishments.

Follow Jason La Canfora on Twitter @JasonLaCanfora.

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop

NFL News
CONTENT
15