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Joe Vitt denies pledging money to 'bounty' program

Joe Vitt, the interim head coach of the New Orleans Saints, issued a statement Wednesday denying that he pledged money to the team's "bounty" program.

Wyche: Show and tell
Does the NFL have proof that the Saints implemented a "bounty" program? Steve Wyche got a good look at the evidence. More ...

In the statement obtained by NFL.com's Steve Wyche, Vitt claims the NFL never accused him of contributing to the team's pay-to-injure scheme:

"Information released by the NFL to the NFLPA yesterday resulted in the media inaccurately reporting that I was accused of pledging money to an incentive or a so-called "bounty" program. The NFL never accused me of such conduct because I did not pledge any money for any incentive, pay for performance, bounty or any other alleged program in connection with any game, including the 2010 NFC Championship.

"The Commissioner confirmed that there is no such allegation or suspicion in a conversation that we had today and the NFL has publicly sought to clarify that the document that has been mischaracterized was not intended to implicate me -- formally or informally. I reaffirmed my pledge to the Commissioner to be an agent for change in helping to find new ways and practices to make our game safer for all players. I look forward to continued conversations with the league on this matter.

"Finally, it cannot be emphasized enough, none of our players, particularly those who are facing suspensions, ever crossed the white line with the intent to injure an opponent. I am proud of our players and stand behind them 100% and will do whatever I can to help restore their good names."

This falls in line with what the league stated Tuesday, when NFL senior V.P. of labor law and policy Adolpho Birch told Pro Football Talk that Vitt hasn't been accused of contributing bounty money.

It doesn't mesh with evidence the NFL shared with 12 national reporters on Monday, including Wyche, which stated Vitt contributed $5,000 to the $35,000 bounty placed on Brett Favre prior to the NFC title game in January 2010.

In that same evidence dump, Vitt also stated the bounty program existed. But the Saints -- coaches and players alike -- continue to march to a single drumbeat on the subject of payments made to knock out opponents. From Jonathan Vilma on down, the Saints deny this occurred. From that angle, Vitt's statement houses no surprises.

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