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Jonathan Vilma given affidavit signed by Gregg Williams

  • By NFL.com
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New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell privately Monday for a "very frank" discussion about his temporarily lifted suspension.

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During the meeting, the league presented Vilma with a sworn affidavit from former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams stating Vilma offered $10,000 to any teammate who knocked out Brett Favre out of the January 2010 NFC Championship Game, a source with direct knowledge of Monday's meeting told NFL.com and NFL Network reporter Albert Breer.

"It was a reiteration of what Gregg Williams has said before," Vilma's lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, told Breer during a Monday phone interview. "And it's just flat out wrong. We don't know what Gregg Williams' motivation is, what his motives are. But we know it's inconsistent with the truth. We know Jonathan previously and today told the commissioner the truth. And dozens of other players have provided the commissioner with the same information."

In addition to the affidavit from Williams, the NFL also provided one from former Saints assistant Mike Cerullo, two sources with direct knowledge of the meeting told Breer.

Cerullo was named as the whistleblower in the Saints' bounty scandal in Vilma's lawsuit against Roger Goodell. Vilma said in the lawsuit that he believed Cerullo was acting out of spite as a disgruntled ex-Saints employee.

Both sources said the information in Cerullo's affidavit directly contradicted information in Williams' affidavit, but not Williams' assertions against Vilma.

Cerullo's affidavit said that Williams was involved in the Favre bounty, while Williams said he was not.

The NFL declined to comment on Cerullo's affidavit.

An appeals panel recently overturned the suspensions of Vilma (one season), Saints defensive end Will Smith (four games), Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita (three games) and free agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove (eight games) for their roles in the Saints "bounty" scandal.

Goodell now must show that the players had intent to injure in order to impose further suspensions.

"We focused today on Jonathan detailing for the commissioner his side of the story," Ginsberg said of Vilma's meeting with Goodell on Monday. "We refuted all the information the NFL had used to support the punishments. And we supported the evidence with statistics that are inconsistent with the allegations that the New Orleans Saints ever set out to injure anyone."

Smith, Fujita and Hargrove will meet with Goodell on Tuesday.

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