Roger Goodell May Have Nudged Curtis Lofton

March 21st, 2012

Every Bucs fan, both sober and soused, knows Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik has been involved in a stare down with free agent linebacker Curtis Lofton for his services.

Lofton, a coveted inside linebacker, has also been courted by the Saints and spent last weekend in New Orleans being wined and dined by Saints coaches and management at some of the best eateries and watering holes in the world.

Well, just moments ago, nearly lost in the Tim Tebow trade, NFL warden commissioner Roger Goodell took out his judge’s gavel and completely hammered the Saints in their involvement with a bounty program, funded in part by Saints coach Sean Payton laundering money from a convicted felon.

Payton has been suspended for a full season. In addition, assistant Saints coach Joe Vitts has been suspended six games and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now at St. Louis, has been suspended indefinitely.

Throw on top of that the Saints also have had two second round picks pulled as part of the penalty; it’s not far-fetched to suggest the glory days of the Saints are done.

So why would a sought-after linebacker want to jump aboard a sinking ship?

Mr. Lofton, your choice now is clear: The Buccaneers.

For those interested, below is a news release from NFL headquarters, in its entirety, concerning the suspensions/fines/forfeitures of draft picks, concerning the Saints bounty program.


Commissioner Roger Goodell notified the New Orleans Saints today of the discipline that will be imposed on team management for violations of the NFL’s long-standing “bounty” rule that endangered player safety over a three-year period.

Discipline for individual players involved in the Saints’ prohibited program continues to be under review with the NFL Players Association and will be addressed by Commissioner Goodell at a later date. The program included “bounty” payments for “knock-outs” and “cart-offs,” plays on which an opposing player was forced to leave the game. At times, the bounties even targeted specific players by name.

The NFL’s extensive investigation established the existence of an active bounty program on the Saints during the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons in violation of league rules, a deliberate effort to conceal the program’s existence from league investigators, and a clear determination to maintain the program despite express direction from Saints ownership that it stop as well as ongoing inquiries from the league office.

“We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game,” Commissioner Goodell said. “We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities. No one is above the game or the rules that govern it. Respect for the game and the people who participate in it will not be compromised.”

“A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious,” Commissioner Goodell continued. “When there is targeting of players for injury and cash rewards over a three-year period, the involvement of the coaching staff, and three years of denials and willful disrespect of the rules, a strong and lasting message must be sent that such conduct is totally unacceptable and has no place in the game.”

Following the March 2 announcement of the NFL’s initial findings, the league office conducted further investigation, including Commissioner Goodell meeting with many of the key individuals involved, sometimes on multiple occasions. The commissioner also discussed the matter with the leadership of the NFL Players Association and individual players.

Based on the record, Commissioner Goodell has imposed the following discipline on Saints management:

The New Orleans Saints are fined $500,000. In addition, because the violation involves a competitive rule, the Saints will forfeit their selections in the second round of the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts.

Saints Head Coach Sean Payton is suspended without pay for the 2012 NFL season, effective April 1.

Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis is suspended without pay for the first eight regular-season games of the 2012 season.

Former Saints (and current St. Louis Rams) defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely from the NFL, effective immediately. Commissioner Goodell will review Coach Williams’ status at the conclusion of the 2012 season and consider whether to reinstate him, and, if so, on what terms. Commissioner Goodell said he will give close attention to the extent to which Coach Williams cooperates with the NFL in any further proceedings.

Saints assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt is suspended without pay for the first six regular-season games of the 2012 season.

The Saints and the individuals disciplined today are expected to participate in efforts led by the league office to develop programs that will instruct players and coaches at all levels of the game on the need for respect for the game and those who participate in it, on principles of fair play, safety and sportsmanship, and to ensure that bounties will not be part of football at any level.

Commissioner Goodell stated that the actions of the individuals disciplined today violated league rules and constituted conduct detrimental to the league and players. He said the existence of a pay-for-performance/bounty program undermined the integrity of the game. The violations were compounded by the failure of Coach Payton to supervise the players and coaches and his affirmative decision starting in 2010 (a) not to inquire into the facts concerning the pay-for-performance/bounty program even though he was aware of the league’s inquiries both in 2010 and 2012; (b) to falsely deny that the program existed; (c) to encourage the false denials by instructing assistants to “make sure our ducks are in a row;” and (d) to ignore instructions from the league office and club ownership to ensure that no such program existed.

“Beyond the clear and continuing violations of league rules, and lying to investigators, the bounty program is squarely contrary to the league’s most important initiatives – enhancing player health and safety and protecting the integrity of the game,” Commissioner Goodell said. “Let me be clear. There is no place in the NFL for deliberately seeking to injure another player, let alone offering a reward for doing so. Any form of bounty is incompatible with our commitment to create a culture of sportsmanship, fairness, and safety. Programs of this kind have no place in our game and we are determined that bounties will no longer be a part of the NFL.”

A 2007 amendment to the NFL Constitution and By-Laws obligated coaches and supervisory employees “to communicate openly and candidly with the principal owner and/or his designated representative; to ensure that club ownership is informed on a complete and timely basis of all matters affecting the club’s operations; and to avoid actions that undermine or damage the club’s reputation or operating success.” The obligation to supervise the coaching staff and players is also expressly set forth in the employment agreement signed by Coach Payton.

Commissioner Goodell said he will separately address potential sanctions for players and others with documented involvement in the bounty program.

“While I will not address player conduct at this time, I am profoundly troubled by the fact that players – including leaders among the defensive players – embraced this program so enthusiastically and participated with what appears to have been a deliberate lack of concern for the well-being of their fellow players,” Commissioner Goodell said. “While all club personnel are expected to play to win, they must not let the quest for victory so cloud their judgment that they willingly and willfully target their opponents and engage in unsafe and prohibited conduct intended to injure players.”

While NFL staff has interviewed people in connection with public allegations of bounty programs at other clubs, no evidence was established showing that the programs at other clubs involved targeting opposing players or rewarding players for injuring an opponent. Commissioner Goodell emphasized that if additional information is brought to his attention that discloses bounties offered for injuring specific opposing players, he will revisit the matter to consider additional discipline.

The findings in the league’s investigation, corroborated by multiple independent sources, conclusively established the following:

1. The Saints defensive team operated a pay-for-performance/bounty program, primarily funded by players, during the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons. Under that program, players regularly made cash “donations” to a pool, and were “fined” for mental errors, loafing, penalties, and the like. At least one assistant coach (defensive coordinator Gregg Williams) also occasionally contributed to the pool. There is no evidence that any club money was contributed to the program.

2. Payments were made for plays such as interceptions or fumble recoveries. All such payments are against league rules. Payments also were made for plays on which opposing players were injured. In addition, specific players were sometimes targeted. The investigation showed bounties being placed on four quarterbacks of opposing teams – Brett Favre, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, and Kurt Warner. Multiple sources have confirmed that several players pledged funds toward bounties on specific opposing players, with defensive captain Jonathan Vilma offering $10,000 to any player who knocked Brett Favre out of the NFC Championship Game in 2010.

3. Coach Williams acknowledged that he designed and implemented the program with the assistance of certain defensive players. He said that he did so after being told by Saints Head Coach Sean Payton that his assignment was to make the defense “nasty.” Coach Williams described his role as overseeing record keeping, defining payout amounts, deciding on who received payouts, and distributing envelopes with cash to players who “earned” rewards.

4. In each of the 2009-2011 seasons, the Saints were one of the top five teams in the league in roughing the passer penalties. In 2009 and 2011, the Saints were also in the top five teams in unnecessary roughness penalties; in 2010, the Saints ranked sixth in the category. In the January 16, 2010 divisional playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saints defensive players were assessed $15,000 in fines for fouls committed against opposing players. The following week, in the NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings, Saints defensive players were assessed $30,000 in fines for four separate illegal hits, several of which were directed against quarterback Brett Favre.

5. Coach Williams now acknowledges that when he was first questioned about this matter in early 2010 he intentionally misled NFL investigators and made no effort to stop the program after he became aware of the league’s investigation.

6. Coach Williams further confirmed that the program continued during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, and that he occasionally contributed funds to the pool in each of those seasons.

7. Assistant Head Coach/Defense Joe Vitt acknowledged that he was aware of the program in 2009-2011. He admitted that, when interviewed in 2010, he “fabricated the truth” to NFL investigators and denied that any pay-for-performance or bounty program existed at the Saints.

8. Coach Vitt said one of his primary roles was to monitor the activity of Coach Williams. This was based on the direction of Coach Payton, who apparently had less than full confidence in Coach Williams. Despite Coach Vitt’s knowledge of the bounty program, his understanding of the terms “knock-out” and “cart-off,” his witnessing Coach Williams handing out envelopes that he believed to contain cash, and his acknowledgement that the defensive meeting preceding the 2010 NFC Championship Game may have “got out of hand” with respect to Brett Favre, Coach Vitt claimed he never advised either Coach Payton or General Manager Mickey Loomis of the “pay-for-performance/bounty” program.

9. A summary prepared following a Saints preseason game included the statement, “1 Cart-off – Crank up the John Deer (sic) Tractor” in reference to a hit on an opposing player. Similar statements are reflected in prepared documents or slides in connection with other games in multiple seasons. A review of the game films confirms that opposing players were injured on the plays identified in the documents.

10. When interviewed in 2012, Sean Payton claimed to be entirely unaware of the program, a claim contradicted by others. Further, prior to the Saints’ opening game in 2011, Coach Payton received an email from a close associate that stated in part, “PS Greg Williams put me down for $5000 on Rogers (sic).” When shown the email during the course of the investigation, Coach Payton stated that it referred to a “bounty” on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

11. In early 2010, Mr. Loomis advised Coach Payton that the league office was investigating allegations concerning a bounty program. Coach Payton said that he met with his top two defensive assistants, Coach Williams and Coach Vitt, in advance of the interview with league investigators and told them, “Let’s make sure our ducks are in a row.” Remarkably, Coach Payton claimed that he never inquired of Coach Williams and Coach Vitt as to what happened in the interviews, never asked them if a “pay-for-performance” or bounty program was in fact in place, and never gave any instructions to discontinue such a program.

12. In January 2012, prior to the Saints’ first playoff game of the 2011 season, Coach Payton was advised by Mr. Loomis that the league office had reopened the investigation. Coach Payton made a cursory inquiry but took no action to ensure that any bounty program was discontinued.

13. General Manager Mickey Loomis was not present at meetings of the Saints defense at which bounties were discussed and was not aware of bounties being placed on specific players. Mr. Loomis became aware of the allegations regarding a bounty program no later than February 2010 when he was notified of the investigation into the allegations during a meeting with NFL Executive Vice President-Football Operations Ray Anderson. He was directed to ensure that any such program ceased immediately. By his own admission, Mr. Loomis did not do enough to determine if a pay-for-performance/bounty program existed or to end any such program that did exist.

14. Saints owner Tom Benson notified Mr. Loomis in January 2012 prior to the team’s participation in the playoffs that the league’s investigation had been reopened. Mr. Benson reiterated his position that a bounty program was unacceptable and instructed Mr. Loomis to ensure that if a bounty program existed at the Saints it would stop immediately. By his own admission, Mr. Loomis responded to this direction by making only cursory inquiries of Coaches Payton and Williams. He never issued instructions to end the bounty program to either the coaching staff or the players.

15. There is no evidence that Saints ownership had any knowledge of the pay-for-performance or bounty program. There is no evidence that any club funds were used for the program. Ownership made clear that it disapproved of the program, gave prompt and clear direction that it stop, and gave full and immediate cooperation to league investigators.

79 Responses to “Roger Goodell May Have Nudged Curtis Lofton”

  1. Nate Says:

    The saints are screwed and brees is still pissed off by the tag.. there days are numbered!

  2. J 2.0 Says:

    The 49er’s should pull out no stops to try and acquire Drew Brees.

  3. Matt Says:

    who dat? lmao

  4. raphael Says:

    thats too bad…I feel bad for the Saints…..

    NOT !

  5. Nate Says:

    FYI JOE Tebow traded to the JETS! for fourth rounder lol

  6. raphael Says:

    today = Karma

  7. GenocideD Says:

    Xmas just keeps coming this year!
    I would’ve loved to see two first rounders though…
    sidenote:How do you suspend a GM for 8 games? Whooptie doo. He just can’t go to the stadium on game day? Weaksauce.

  8. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I don’t know what our record will be this season, but I know our offseason record is very good.

  9. Nate Says:


  10. CharlieB Says:

    @ J 2.0

    Brees was tagged with the exclusive franchise tag, meaning other teams can’t sign him regardless of the number of draft picks they want to throw at the saints.

  11. Traew Says:

    The NFL is not done. Player discipline to follow. Goodell consulting with Players Union.

    My bet however is Lofton returns to Dirty Birds

  12. Kryq Says:

    lmfao !! they had it coming, now they’ll take a major step back so Lofton be smart and come to Tampa.

  13. J 2.0 Says:


    Good to know, thanks.

  14. Bucs4life Says:

    Don’t be surprised if Brees demands a trade. The Saints are in a precarious position where they will either have to a) overpay Brees or b) outright trade him to makeup for their confiscated draft picks.

  15. bucbelevr Says:


    Think Goodell chose to revoke 2 2nd round picks, because the Saints had already traded away their 1st round selection in 2012–they don’t have a 1st rounder this Draft. In 2013, they still have a 1st rounder, though.

  16. Chris FWC Says:

    9ners resigned Alex Smith too.

  17. Kryq Says:

    Hopefully Curtis Lofton comes to his senses.

  18. Eric Says:

    Hey Raheem is available to take over the head coaching job!


  19. Eric Says:

    I think Williams is the guy Shawn King said should have been head coach of the bucs.

    That woulda worked out great!

  20. bucbelevr Says:



  21. Jrock Says:

    I’m kinda surprised at this ruling vs what the Pats got for Spygate. I’m going off memory here, but weren’t they docked $750,000 and two first round picks?

    The saints discipline seems to pale in comparison. The only different being the saints lose SECOND round picks, not first, get dinged $250,000 LESS, and their coaching staff gets suspended for -part- of the season.

    Heh… I was expecting more, honestly.

  22. Adam Says:

    From ESPN Radio:

    Scott van Pelt: How much does this affect the Saints on the field?

    Adam Scheffter: On the field? A LOT!!

  23. Bobby Says:

    Ouch!! That has to hurt the franchise big time. Nicks made that move just in time.

  24. Bobby Says:

    @Jrock…their head coach is suspended for the entire season. That seems pretty punitive to me…

  25. BOb Says:

    I think it was 1 first round pick but yeah belicheat didnt get suspended. Hhhmmmmm

  26. Jrock Says:

    @Bobby – I concede that point. Payton not being there for a full season, and their backup plan (Vitt) not being available for half the season will take its toll.

    BUT, that still only sets their team back a year, and hits Payton for his $8 million salary. Their organization, on the other hand, only gets slapped with $500k and 2 second round picks! That should have been more, IMO

  27. Eric Says:

    This is even more humiliating than losing to Raheem three times.

  28. Chiefbucsfan Says:

    Who dat Saints fans? Roger Goodell dats who!!

  29. bucfanjeff Says:

    Well, we know who should finish last in the division now.
    Their 2012 team may have the makeup of a HS team.

  30. BucFan20 Says:

    Can’t wait to see which players THE HAMMER falls on!! Well deserved.

  31. RCH Says:

    That is awesome that just made my day LMAO!!!!!

  32. barton1017 Says:


    my guess would be Vilma 1st then a few not so important players after that.

  33. BucFan20 Says:

    Hey Rah, think there is a DC opening for the RAMS!!!

  34. raphael Says:

    Miami should be on the phone to Brees agent….Make it happen!

  35. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Just as long as our new boy Nicks wasn’t somehow involved.

  36. BigMacAttack Says:

    What a wonderful day. I can’t wait until the players start getting hammered. May have to go to the Bar tonight and celebrate a few. Williams appears to be quite the rat and didn’t hesitate to throw Payton under the bus. Talk about spilling you guts. I bet those two will have a great friendship going forward…………. in the unemployment line.

  37. BucFan20 Says:

    @ barton 1017.
    Sure your right on Vilma. Can they kick his arse out of the NFL does anyone know.

  38. Mr. Patrick Says:

    They got exactly what they deserved.

  39. Snook Says:

    The 2nd round picks should’ve been 1st rounders.

    Don’t see how this pushes Lofton to Saints. He’s only after the money and with the suspension of Vilma coming, it’ll only increase NO’s need for a MLB. Lofton doesn’t care about winning.

  40. Fear The Glow Says:

    New Orleans Taints.

    Feel bad for the Rams though. They sign a new defensive coordinator and like a week later this scandal comes out. Now their screwed.

  41. 941-Bucs Says:

    @ Fear the Glow, Good they took Finnegan away from us lol. It’s Karma.

  42. OAR Says:

    The Saints didn’t have a 1st round pick this year, so they took their 2nd.
    Also Peyton calls their plays so it will hurt! Remember him meeting Kharma on our sidelines last year. He stayed there until the half to call the plays.

  43. 941-Bucs Says:

    @ Snook if i remember correctly they don’t have a 1st rounder this year anyways. so they don’t have a draft pick till round 3.

  44. OAR Says:

    oops…karma…dang extra ‘h’

  45. BigMacAttack Says:

    Good point OAR. I wonder if Raheem had a bounty on Payton in that Game???

  46. BucFan20 Says:

    Because the players were putting most of the money up, the players involved should get the same as Williams. Most of all Vilma if he offered that kind of money to harm another player.

  47. Snook Says:

    “@ Snook if i remember correctly they don’t have a 1st rounder this year anyways. so they don’t have a draft pick till round 3.”

    I don’t care. The only reason they don’t have a #1 this year is because they traded is so they’d have 2 #1s last year. Either way, the NFL should’ve taken away their #1 in 2013.

    The Saints just signed Bunkley, too. Seems he wasn’t worried about any of this. Like I said before, this actually increases the chances Lofton goes to the Saints.

  48. buddah Says:

    The Saints will soon be the ain’ts. Should have been a bit tougher, but this is an x and o’s passing team without their coaches and front office. Brees is very good, but not that good.

  49. Sensiblebuc Says:

    Thank you for this Jeremy Shockey (allegedly)

  50. Capt.Tim Says:

    Lol- I hate me some saints! Dis is good stuff- way ta go Roger! You da man!

  51. Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Wow, Tampa sure got a gift today. Even so, it still looks like Carolina is the team to beat in the NFC South anyway. New Orleans was already in decline, even w/o this punishment.

  52. John Lennon Says:

    Instant Karma’s gonna get you. Gonna knock you right in the head! Better get yourself together darling…or pretty soon you’re gonna have your arse kicked out of the league coach Peyton!

  53. Josh Says:

    watch Gruden hop in for an interim season…

  54. Bricen Says:

    Oh how the NFC south changes. I love it.

  55. Patrick Says:

    lmao wasn’t there some guy on the Tampa radio that wanted Gregg Williams as our head coach?

  56. doubles Says:

    While this likely helps the Bucs (c’mon Lofton), I don’t think it’s really in good taste to be cheering for this. Don’t get me wrong, the team deserves everything they got but I feel bad for the *fans* of NO who were really blindsided by this. I don’t want to see any team go down this way, it’s a black mark on the league as a whole.

  57. Meh Says:

    Saints signed Buckley for 5 years $25 mil. They can’t afford Lofton anymore.

  58. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Will Roger still be DA MAN when he brings the hammer on Talib? And we all know THAT will be coming soon.

  59. BucFan20 Says:

    Brees is shocked at Paytons punishment. If in fact Brees did not know, Did he bother to READ Payton’s involvement?

  60. tonytwocents Says:

    Warren Sapp calling Shockey the Snitch! Good job Shockey!

    Snitchin aint easy but its necessary! And Peyton’s chasing Oxys like Tom chases Jerry. – for my Ice Cube fans

  61. tonytwocents Says:

    So in a sense, Sapp snitched on the snitch.

  62. raphael Says:

    @patrick…good call,me thinks it was fat boy, small hands that wanted Williams… lmao

  63. Capt.Tim Says:

    I want The Comish to suspend Talib for at least a year!
    Tired of that lil embarassment.
    Let him have a year off,he’ll take care of the rest!
    He’ll screw up bad enough ta get his prison career going!

  64. Rob Says:

    Kind of takes the luster off their Super Bowl trophy. Saints are getting what they deserve. Makes Billicheck look like a choir boy. Who dat hahahahaha

  65. GenocideD Says:

    *in my best Denny Green voice:
    “The Saints ARE who we thought they were!!”

  66. tonytwocents Says:


    Too bad Aqib/Mrs Talib missed (allegedly). The sack of sh!t they were chasing (allegedly) is a child sex offender. I wouldn’t hesitate to put a child molester in the ground…(allegedly)

  67. jLM Says:

    Barber just signed a one year deal.

  68. tonytwocents Says:

    lol genocide

    Sean Peyton in my Jim Mora voice:

    “a YEAR off?! don’t talk about – a YEAR off?! you kidding me? a YEAR off?! I just hope I don’t go insane!”

  69. buccin cane Says:

    Good Wednesday no check that….Great Wednesday

  70. Josh Says:

    Hell yeah. Ronde!!!!!!

  71. Cmurda Says:

    I heart you Ronde. No ****

  72. Capt.Tim Says:

    Tonytwocents- I think all child molesters have a big problem- lead defiency!
    And I’m all in favor of curing them of this problem 🙂

    The points of the story you may not know.
    Billings( the child molester) is the common law husband of Talibs sister. They have been together for years.
    He is Talib’s brother in law.
    He list Talib’s mothers homeas his primary residence for the last 4 years.
    He has lived with the sister, at the mother shone, for years
    The mother is also a convicted felon

    This wasn’t some” shining knight to the rescue” story- as some apologist he try to portrait it. If it was, I’d be arguing that Talib had the right to defend his sister

    It wasn’t like that at all. It was just another in a long line of violent episodes between Billings and his wife.

  73. tonytwocents Says:

    Capt Tim says (allegedly):

    This wasn’t some” shining knight to the rescue” story- as some apologist he try to portrait it. If it was, I’d be arguing that Talib had the right to defend his sister

    I think Aqib “The Shining Knight” Talib (allegedly) shouldn’t have missed when firing (allegedly) at his sisters (alleged) boyfriend/child molester…….(allegedly)

  74. Cmurda Says:

    Do the facts suggest this guy was literally molesting the children causing Talib to freak? I’m too lazy to look through it all. If so, Talib or not, he gets a free pass. Imagine seeing your sister’s boyfriend molesting your niece or nephew? There has to be hell to pay for that. Literally and figuratively.

  75. Capt.Tim Says:

    Cmurda- nah. Billings was convicted as a child molester, prior to becoming the husband to Talibs Sister. Like 6 years ago.
    He’s picked up some new charges- but unrelated to the “O K corral version of the Family Fued!” that occurred last year.

  76. Capt.Tim Says:

    Lol! Your right!
    It would have been a great start, if Talib had ( allegedly) shoot his brother in law- the ( confirmed) child molester!

    I would ( allegedly) condone said shooting! As Billings is also a person who ( allegedly) would be of greater service to man kind as a( alleged) pile of useful parts- at a nearby body bank.!

    It would be yet another example of the parts being greater than the whole
    In particular, this child molesting ( alleged) a%%hole!

  77. tonytwocents Says:


    now you’re coming around! :D…………(allegedly)

  78. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Take the Talib talk to the Talib thread.

    Any here think the rams should get those 2nd rounders? Or at least on of them? Vikings get the other?

    Thank God Nicks didn’t play defense.

    I for one am sad this all happened. I want the Bucs to win against the Saints because the Bucs got better, not because the Saints got worse. Weaker competition makes a weaker team.

  79. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Btw, bet Jon Gruden to the Saints will happen. A winning offense, Brees, and the chance to stick it to the Bucs.

    It’s just what he would do. I almost wish he would.