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Darren Sharper: Don't drop hammer on Saints players

Let's check in with Darren Sharper, the former New Orleans Saints safety who has been a bastion of entertainment -- if not truth -- when it comes to the "bounty" scandal.

As you might recall, Sharper told shortly after the "bounty" story broke that the league's findings were "ridiculous." His greatest outrage came via the idea that someone within the Saints could have tipped off the league to nefarious activity (that, you know, never happened).

Now Sharper is offering his opinion on how player discipline should be handled. Perhaps not surprisingly, Sharper believes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should let it slide.

"I don't think that, first of all, suspensions and fines are warranted," Sharper told WWL in New Orleans (via "I still don't feel as though there is proof that guys received certain benefits from making dirty plays or making plays during the game."

Sharper was a member of the Saints in 2009 and 2010, two seasons in which then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams ran a pay-for-performance system, according to the league. Jonathan Vilma was the only player named in the investigation, and Sharper believes it's unfair to punish a player without what he sees as hard proof.

"You are kind of tinkering on thin ice there by saying you are going to take a guy away from the game," he said, "and have him lose money when you don't necessarily have material or bullet proof that guys did that."

That cements it. Darren Sharper and Fran Tarkenton will never be boys.

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