Payton starts bounty suspension
Sean Payton started his year-long suspension this week for his knowledge of the bounty scandal that rocked NFL earlier this year. The head coach will be without pay for a season and is not allowed any contact with anyone affiliated with the National Football League.
Under the terms of his season-long suspension for his role in New Orleans’ bounty program, coach Sean Payton is not allowed to have any contact with the Saints organization or anyone around the NFL, and if he does, must report it to the league executive Ray Anderson.
Payton’s suspension began on Monday, and he is essentially cut off from every Saints employee and any coaching friend he has around the league until the day after the 2013 Super Bowl, when the suspension is scheduled to end.
Payton and Saints general manager Mickey Loomis have beach houses about one mile apart from each other in Florida. They cannot, by the NFL’s law, say hello to each other on the beach without Anderson being informed of it.
The NFL’s investigation into the Saints found that Payton initially lied about the existence of a bounty program and instructed his defensive assistants to do the same.
The Saints have been fined $500,000 and stripped of two second-round draft picks. Loomis is suspended for the first eight games of the upcoming season, while interim head coach Joe Vitt — who took over that role Monday — will be barred for the first six regular-season games.
Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who oversaw the bounty system in which opponents were targeted for hits that could sideline or injure them, has been suspended indefinitely. He left New Orleans in January to become defensive coordinator in St. Louis.
The New Orleans Saints have named assistant coach Joe Vitt as interim coach, for the 2012 season, despite the top assistant’s six-game suspension for his role in the club’s bounty system.
Saints offensive line coach Aaron Kromer is expected to become New Orleans’ interim, interim head coach this season during the first six games while Vitt serves his suspension, before Vitt can fully get his teeth into the full coaching role.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to soon punish Saints players for their roles in the program. Between 22 and 27 current and former Saints defenders were involved, according to the league investigation.
Meanwhile, quarterback Drew Brees says there was no real progress when the NFL Players Association and the league discussed the bounty program at the league’s offices Monday.
“We didn’t get any meaningful evidence, or any meaningful truth or facts,” Brees told NFL.com after the meetings.
The bounty system was in place from 2009, the season the Saints won the Super Bowl, to 2011 and between 22 and 27 Saints players participated in the program. As part of the scheme players were paid bonuses for, among other things, hard hits and deliberately injuring opposing players.