Walsh to share information, turn over tapes to NFL

NEW YORK -- Former Patriots assistant Matt Walsh will meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on May 13 about New England's videotaping of opposing teams.

The league reached an agreement with Walsh on Wednesday. The NFL had been negotiating for two months with Walsh, now an assistant golf pro in Hawaii, who has indicated he has further information regarding the situation.

Goodell fined Patriots coach Bill Belichick $500,000, the team was fined $250,000 and was stripped of its first-round draft choice for taking video of New York Jets coaches on the sideline of the 2007 season opener. But the specter of what information Walsh might have has hung over the matter since the Super Bowl, when Walsh reportedly said he had other tapes.

The agreement with Walsh will allow him to "share with the NFL information about activities occurring during his employment with the club from 1997-2003," the league said in a statement.

Walsh also will be required to return any tapes and other items in his possession that belong to the Patriots.

"Today, Mr. Walsh and the National Football League reached an agreement under which the NFL will provide legal indemnification and a release of claims against Mr. Walsh relating to his employment by the Patriots and the Patriots' videotaping operations," said Walsh's lawyer, Michael Levy of McKee Nelson LLP. "I am pleased that we now have an agreement that provides Mr. Walsh with appropriate legal protections. Mr. Walsh is looking forward to providing the NFL with the materials he has and telling the NFL what he knows."

The Patriots said they expected the Goodell-Walsh meeting to end the Spygate investigations.

"The New England Patriots are pleased to learn that Matt Walsh is finally willing to come forward to meet with the NFL," the team said in a statement. "We are eagerly anticipating his honest disclosures to commissioner Goodell next month and the return of all the materials he took during his time of employment.

"We fully expect this meeting to conclude the league's investigation into a damaging and false allegation that was originally levied against the team on the day before this year's Super Bowl."

Walsh will be required to provide any documents he may have, including videotapes, relating to Patriots. He also will not be allowed to speak with any third parties before meeting with Goodell.

Last September, Belichick acknowledged using such videotapes on a regular basis, calling it a misinterpretation of the rule. Goodell issued his fines, then destroyed the tapes from the Patriots-Jets game, the first win in New England's unbeaten regular season, along with other materials submitted by the team. At the time, Goodell said he took the Patriots' word that those were the only tapes.

During Super Bowl week, however, there were reports of possible earlier videotaping by the Patriots, including the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough before the 2002 Super Bowl. Belichick vehemently denied the existence of any such tapes.

"I've never seen a tape of another team's practice. Ever!" Belichick said at last month's NFL owners meetings. "Certainly not that one.

"I think they've addressed everything they possibly can address. I've addressed so many questions so many times from so many people I don't know what else the league could ask."

He might find out once Walsh and Goodell meet.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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