Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Williams Blamed Vitt in Bounty Testimony

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Williams Blamed Vitt in Bounty Testimony

Article excerpt

Former New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams testified he tried to shut down the team's bounty system when the NFL began investigating, but he was overruled by interim Saints coach Joe Vitt, according to transcripts from appeals hearings obtained.

According to transcripts, Williams said that then-assistant Vitt responded to a suggestion that the pay-for-pain setup be abandoned with an obscenity-filled speech about how NFL commissioner Roger Goodell "wasn't going to ... tell us to ...stop doing what won us the Super Bowl. This has been going on in the ... National Football League forever, and it will go on here forever, when they run [me] out of there, it will still go on."

Williams and Vitt were among a number of witnesses whose testimony was heard by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who Tuesday overturned four player suspensions in the case. Tagliabue was appointed by Goodell to handle the final round of appeals. The transcripts of Tagliabue's closed-door hearings were obtained through a person with a role in the case.

Vitt was a Saints assistant who was banned for six games for his part in the scandal but now is filling in for head coach Sean Payton, who was suspended for the entire season. Williams was suspended indefinitely by Goodell. Others who testified included former defensive assistant Mike Cerullo, the initial whistle- blower.

Transcripts portray the former coaches, all part of the Saints 2010 Super Bowl championship, as bitterly disagreeing with one another and contradicting how the NFL depicted the bounty system.


Josh Brent has been placed on the reserve/non-football illness list by Dallas, a move that ends his season but allows the defensive tackle to remain with the team. The move came a day after a memorial service for practice-squad player Jerry Brown, Brent's friend who was killed Saturday in a car accident when police say Brent was driving drunk. …

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