Brees, Fujita, NFLPA meet with league over bounty program, other issues

Brees, Fujita, NFLPA meet with league over bounty program, other issues

Credit: AP

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees arrives for negotiations with the NFL involving a federal mediator Friday, March 11, 2011 in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 16, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 16 at 2:50 PM

Barry Wilner / AP Football Writer

NEW YORK — Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former New Orleans linebacker Scott Fujita and players union head DeMaurice Smith were at the NFL offices Monday discussing the team’s bounty program.

Other issues also were being discussed with league executives, according to a person with knowledge of the meetings. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are not being made public.

The league would not comment on the meetings.

Brees and Fujita, now with the Browns, are members of the NFL Players Association’s executive committee. Fujita was with the Saints in 2009 when the pay-for-pain bounty pool grew as large as $50,000 and the team won the Super Bowl.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to soon punish players for their roles in the program that got Saints coach Sean Payton suspended for 2012. Between 22 and 27 current and former Saints defenders were involved, according to the league investigation.

The NFL investigation 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. General manager Mickey Loomis is suspended for the first eight games of the upcoming season, while interim head coach Joe Vitt — who took over that role Monday as Payton began his suspension through the Super Bowl — 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, is suspended indefinitely. He left New Orleans in January to become defensive coordinator in St. Louis.

Williams has apologized for his role in the bounty program.

The league’s investigation found that Williams’ bounty system offered off-the-books cash payments of $1,500 for “knockouts,” in which an opposing player was knocked out of a game, or $1,000 for “cart-offs,” in which an opponent needed help off the field.

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