Saints owner Tom Benson meets with Roger Goodell


With teams returning to the field, the offseason's dominant narrative -- the "bounty" scandal surrounding the New Orleans Saints -- slowly fades into the background for many.

But not for the Saints, who prepare to wade through this season minus Sean Payton and Jonathan Vilma, both suspended for the season by the NFL.

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Saints owner Tom Benson has remained quiet during his organization's dramatic offseason, but spent part of Tuesday huddled with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the team confirmed.

"Today, Mr. Benson visited with Commissioner Goodell in New York," the Saints said in a statement. "It was a very productive meeting and he looks forward to having many more discussions with the commissioner on specific Saints-related issues as well as league-wide issues."

When and NFL Network's Steve Wyche reached out to the NFL for comment, a league spokesman chose not to confirm the meeting, stating Goodell meets with owners frequently on a variety of issues. Following the release of the Saints' statement, the NFL declined to describe what was discussed between Benson and Goodell, according to Wyche.

Goodell told me at the Hall of Fame Game that "the facts are clear. There was a bounty system in place. They've admitted it -- even in court -- that they were paying players when they were carted off the field. That's not what football's all about."

The Saints maintain nobody was paid to injure an opponent. The NFL disagrees.

It's not hard to imagine what Goodell and Benson chatted about behind closed doors.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.