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NFL ESPN vs. Saints: New Orleans players embraced bounties, Loomis eavesdropped
Written by  // Tuesday, 24 April 2012 10:51 //

 

Saints fleurAlthough the NFL has not yet shown a scintilla of proof that any New Orleans Saints player had engaged in what is now called bountygate, the Commissioner appears to be going on the offense with another allegation.

A tweet this morning from a reporter after talking with Goodell said "evidence was clear that the players embraced it" and "I don't think they are absolved from responsibility" recent tweet from Rich Eisen of http://richeisen.nfl.com/

The NFL players association is still waiting for the NFL to show them evidence that the Saints players are culpable.

 

Now, only two days before the NFL Draft, the Saints' franchise gets another black eye.

Various Saints employees and a former head coach went on record to counter the information provided from unnamed sources to ESPN, which has reported that GM Mickey Loomis intercepted communications among opposing coaches from 2002 through 2004.

Jim Haslett, Saints head coach then and now Redskins defensive coordinator, addressed the situation via remarks sent by email to PFT.com.

"At no time during my tenure as head coach with the Saints did Mickey and I discuss monitoring opposing team coaches communication, nor did I have knowledge of this," said Haslett. "To my knowledge this concept was never discussed or utilized."

Former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert pointed out that every team has different names for various football things. "It would be like Loomis was listening to something in Chinese," said Hebert, now on WWL sports talk shows.

If Loomis did gather information from opposing coaches and didn't share the information with the coaching staff, it would be of no value to the coaches.

Hall of Fame (as of August) defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, who has previously worked for the Saints under a coaching fellowship, but now works as an adviser, disputes the ESPN story.

"This is completely false," Kennedy said, via comments forwarded to PFT.com by the Saints. "I have set with Mickey for years for multiple games and I can say that when Mickey gets up to go walk around during breaks or halftime, I put his earpiece in...it's WWL-AM radio...I know this, because I have heard, plain and simple."

Former Saints director of player personnel during the 2002 season Rick Mueller also says "there is no way this happened."

Here's PFT.com's Mario Florio's take on this situation: "Obviously, no one expects the Saints to admit it, if it's true. Many will have trouble accepting anything the Saints say on the matter as truthful, given the multi-year pattern of denial regarding the bounty situation.

"But the Saints seem to be committed to aggressively pursuing their version of the events and to force ESPN to put its cards on the table regarding the suggestion that Loomis was engaged in underhanded activities

"Regardless of how it turns out, the ultimate reality show has sprouted another unexpected story line."

"This is 1,000 per cent false," Loomis told ESPN. "This is 1,000 per cent inaccurate."

The NFL just became aware of the allegations. Based on five- and six-year federal and state statutes of limitations, Loomis is not expected to face charges of potential civil litigation The NFL could enforce more discipline though.

Shortly after ESPN released the story, one of its employees, former Colts GM Bill Polian questioned the value of the information Loomis allegedly obtained.

Polian agrees Hebert that translating football language is difficult.

"There's something missing here,"Polian told the network." I don't know what kind of competitive edge you could get. Mickey would have to know the verbiage of every other opposing team in order to translate, and then he would have to do it instantly and find some way to communicate with his coaching staff, and get it down to the field in time to be useful. That would be very difficult to do, in my opinion."

At least one pundit has a different view. In a special to ESPN, Mark Kreider wrote “How is the notion of no value that Loomis, the GM of the New Orleans Saints, had electronic access to the real-time, in-game conversations of rival coaching staffs? Ask the NFL why it has rules to prevent that kind of stuff in the first place. It is because such access would be of incredible value.

 

How is it that so many rush forward so quickly to explain that Loomis wouldn't understand the lexicon of coaching well enough to help the Saints gain an edge in a game? The Saints play their divisional opponents twice a season, every season. Every scrap of information is critical. The edge is so obvious, you'd have to be willfully ignorant not to see it.”

 

Free agent edefensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin visited the Falcons on Monday. He played for the Saints last season after signing a one-year contract. He played for Falcons defenisve cordinator  Mike Nolan when they were both with the 49ers.

Former Saints backup quarterback Mark Brunell has retired from football. He wanted to play one more season, but the Jets preferred a backup capable of putting heat on Mark Sanchez. Brunell, 41, was an athletic southpaw passer in his prime at Jacksonville. The Jets acquired a capable backup in Tim Tebow...Parting thought: "I used to respect my elders. Now I have none to respect."...

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl officials and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation announced on Monday that the 2012 game will be played on Dec. 22 at 11 a.m. at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The game will be televised by ESPN and for the first time in the bowl's 12-year history it will have a daytime kickoff...Tulane defensive end Dezman Moses is hoping to get drafted this weekend. He's rated as the 60th best defensive end among the 132 defensive ends eligible for the draft. If Moses is drafted, he would be the first defensive player from Tulane drafted since 2005 ...

The Saints re-signed K John Kasay to a one-year contract. 

Kasay, 5-10, 210, was originally signed by the Saints during the club’s 2011 preseason, handling field goal and extra point duties for the club. The Athens, Ga. native set franchise records with 147 total points and 63 extra points. Kasay showed the trademark consistency that he has displayed throughout his career by hitting 28-of-34 field goals (82.4%), including a 26-yard game-winner in overtime at Atlanta on November 13.

Kasay, a 21-year NFL veteran, was originally a fourth round draft pick by the Seattle Seahawks out of the University of Georgia in 1991 and played for the Carolina Panthers from 1995-2010 where he departed as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 1,482 points. He’s appeared in 301 career regular season games, successfully converting 461-of-563 (81.9%) field goal attempts and 587-of-598 extra point attempts with 1,970 total points. Kasay is ranked sixth in NFL record books in field goals, eighth in points scored and ninth in games played. Making at least one field goal of at least 50 yards in 18 of his 21 seasons, Kasay has 42 overall to rank second in league records.

Kasay will oppose Hartley for the kicking job with the Saints, but he was probably signed as just another leg in training camp.

For most part, retired players announces second-round picks in the NFL Draft. The Saints don't have a second-round selection, so Willie Roaf will announce their third-round pick. Roaf will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer...It will be interesting to see how Rita Benson LeBlanc responds to granddaddy Tom Benson's wake up call...

by Ed Staton and Bayoubuzz Staff

New Orleans Saints player discipline unlikely today, but Commissioner says ... - NOLA.com

(Visit La. Sports Talk for new Nike Saints gear)



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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  

 

Website: www.louisianasportstalk.com

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