Saints' Payton, Owner Benson return from requested meeting with NFL commissioner

Saints' Payton, Owner Benson return from requested meeting with NFL commissioner

Saints' Payton, Owner Benson return from requested meeting with NFL commissioner

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 12, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 12 at 10:12 PM

WWLTV.com
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Saints owner Tom Benson and coach Sean Payton have returned to New Orleans after meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for much of  Monday morning.

The two had requested the meeting,  which Goodell granted, a league source said.

Benson requested the meeting to express to Goodell the team's full cooperation in working towards a quick resolution on the league's findings regarding the pay for performance program the NFL says the Saints ran from 2009-11.

NFL.com's Jason LaCanfora tweeted earlier Monday that "hard penalties" could come down by the end of the week.

Since the NFL announced the findings of its investigation more than a week ago, Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis have met with Goodell as well as former Saints defensive coordinator Greg Williams.

This is Payton’s second meeting in New York.

The visit could portend an announcement by the league on penalties sooner rather than later; the league’s owner’s meeting is scheduled to start on March 26 in south Florida.

According to the league, the Saints ran a “pay for performance” program in which 22 to 27 defensive players were given small bonuses for big plays, including knockouts and “cart offs.”

The program was instituted by Williams beginning in 2009, the Saints’ Super Bowl season, and continued through 2011 despite the league alerting the franchise it was aware of the stipends, which are against NFL rules.

It took four days for Payton and Loomis to speak up about their roles, saying it happened under their watch and they accepted responsibility. Williams issued a statement almost immediately, running the program despite the fact he knew it was against the rules.

The NFL said it originally went to Loomis, asking him about whether he had knowledge of the program.

The report says he denied knowing about any bounty program and said he would shut one down if it were happening. That never happened, the league asserts.

When the league went to Benson to alert him of new findings late in the 2011 season, Loomis once again was asked to shut down the program and, according to the NFL, he once again failed to follow through.

Wyche said players will be dealt with for their involvement along with Payton, Loomis and Williams.

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