NFL Announces Punishments For Players In Saints Bounty Program
Two current Saints players are being punished, linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive lineman Will Smith. Vilma received the toughest punishment, getting suspended without pay for the entire 2012 NFL season. Smith is facing a 4-game suspension.
The NFL says Vilma and Smith assisted former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in establishing and funding the program. The league also says they have multiple independent sources who say Vilma offered $10,000 bounties to knock out quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Brett Favre during the 2009 playoffs.
Two ex-Saints players also face suspensions. Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with the Green Bay Packers, will be suspended for eight games. And Scott Fujita, now with the Cleveland Browns, will be suspended for three games.
Saints Head Coach Sean Payton has been suspended for the entire 2012 season for his role in the bounty program. Assistant Coach Joe Vitt, despite having to serve a six-game suspension himself during the 2012 season for his role, has been named the interim coach.