Did the NFL offer to slice Saints linebacker Jon Vilma's suspension if he dropped his defamation lawsuit against NFL commish Roger Goodell?
ESPN reported yes and the league issued a statement of denial. I know this: The league doesn't want to go to trial for Vilma's suit.
ESPN's Ed Werder addressed the situation during an appearance on ESPN's NFL Live on Monday.
"As we reported, settlement discussions have taken place," said Werder. "Was there a formal offer? Was there a hypothetical offer? I don 't think anybody can be quite sure exactly the form this took. And while the NFL has vehemently denied the accuracy of the story at, I can tell you the other side -- the sources who provided this information to us last night -- have been equally adamant that we stand our ground, that the information is correct, that there have been settlement discussions, and that the NFL has offered to significantly lessen Vilma's suspension if he agrees to stop the defamation suit."
So, here's what we have: No formal offer was made as the league's statement said, but an eight-game reduction was (and still may be) available.
Some hither, others yon: Saints DT Sedrick Ellis' tackle of Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb in the third series is a good example of what kind of play for which players allegedly being paid in violation of league rules. After being smashed to the ground, Kolb had to leave the game with a bruised chest muscle. Ellis accomplished a $1,500 "knockout" in the now defunct vernacular of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. If Kolb had returned, it would have simply been a $1,000 "cart-off."
But players getting together and throwing money into a pool for hits like Ellis made are a bounty, extra pay for doing their jobs. Ellis is paid to smash down quarterbacks and to apply clean, legal hits to them. The Ellis smashdown was no different than Malcolm Jenkins' interception. That's what they are paid to do...
Joe McKnight, former John Curtis and USC RB, is responsible for the big brawl the Jets had the other day. McKnight delivered an overhand right to Anton Lynn to start the fight. Lynn is an undrafted rookie and the son of McKnight's RB coach, Anthony Lynn...Gone but not forgotten: Woolworths, Diners Club card, Tab, Chicklets, Pan Am Airlines, McCall magazine and Rustlers' Steak and Ribs....Name of the week: Uzpma Nwachukwu, one of those Texas A&M WRs.;..
The Hornets have changed TV voices and Saints play-by-play announcer Jim Henderson has joined WVUE-TV. Emmy winner Joel Meyer will handle play-by-play in televised games and former NBA player David Wesley will be the color analyst on television for Hornets games. Jennifer Hale will be the new sideline reporter. Meyers had previously been the television play-by-play voice of the Spurs. Wesley is a former NBA player. Henderson, retired WWL-TV sports director, will provide commentaries every week during the season on the Saints and give his thoughts on the games on Fox 8 the mornings.
Meanwhile, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora reports that settlement talks are ongoing, but that the situation is "fluid" and there are no guarantees when it comes to working out a settlement.
The league believes that it has a strong case against Vilma and that the linebacker won't win his case (s) in court. But league sources told CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman that there is concern among those around the NFL that Vilma could use the court cases to air as much dirty laundry on NFL leadership as possible, in an attempt to embarrass the league as the league has embarrassed him.
In the meantime, Saints coaches and players are eager to get Vilma in camp. The Saints have begun camp without Vilma, who remains in the spotlught anyway, thanks to his litigation against the league and the scramble to settle his court cases against the commish and the league.
The Patriots are favored by 3 over the Saints in their Thursday night game. LSU is a 43-point favorite over North Texas in the Tigers' opener. Alabama is favored by 12 over Michigan...Anthony Davis saw 7 minutes of action in the USA's 126-97 victory over Argentina on Monday in Olympics action. The Hornets rookie scored two points, hitting one of three field goal attempts. Thought of the day: "I keep hitting "escape" but I'm still here."...
by Ed Staton
Do you have your Saints Bounty shirts?
(before they're gone)
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