Commissioner Roger Goodell is confident that bounty hunting will no longer be an issue in the NFL because of the severe penalties handed out in the wake of the New Orleans Saints scandal.
Goodell said the actions taken by the league “speak very loudly.’’
“I heard that from our clubs, from our personnel,’’ he said during a news conference in Chicago Thursday. “They recognize its not part of the game. It doesn’t need to be part of the game. And I don’t think it’s going to be an issue going forward.’’
The NFL said it found that former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams oversaw a bounty program in New Orleans from 2009 to 2011 which paid off-the-books bonuses of $1,500 for “knockouts,’’ or hits which forced a player out of games, and $1,000 for “cart-offs,’’ which left players needing help off the field.
Williams, who took a job as the defensive coordinator in St. Louis, has since been suspended indefinitely and coach Sean Payton was banished for the 2012 season. General manager Mickey Loomis was suspended eight games and assistant head coach Joe Vitt six games. There was also a $500,000 fine for the team, the loss of two second-round draft picks, and suspensions for several current and former Saints players, including starting linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the entire season.
The NFL Players Association has challenged Goodell’s power to impose penalties and has asked an arbitrator to decide if the players should be punished for the system.
Revis mulls holdout
Three weeks after claiming he’s happy with his contract, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis fueled a new round of speculation by refusing to guarantee he will report for the start of training camp, ESPN.com reported.
“I don’t know,’’ Revis said after the Jets’ OTA practice, becoming testy. “That’s all I’m telling you. I don’t know if I am or I’m not.’’
This has been an on-again, off-again issue since April, when Revis told reporters he might not show up for training camp. He’s done it before, missing the 2010 preseason because of an acrimonious holdout.
Revis has two years and $13.5 million remaining on the contract he renegotiated two years ago.
He earned $32.5 million over the first two years of the deal, with sources indicating he wants to maintain that average over a new, long-term contract.
Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks insists that a recent broken foot will not keep him out of the Giants’ season-opener against the Cowboys Sept. 5. Speaking a week after breaking his right foot, Nicks said his healing process should be quicker than the 12 weeks estimated by doctors. Nicks had 76 catches for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns last season, second on the team to Victor Cruz . . . Vitt, the Saints assistant head coach, and Drew Brees have spoken about preparations for training camp, and Vitt said he expects the star quarterback to be back with the team by then. The Saints have placed a one-year franchise tag on Brees, which prevents him from negotiating with other clubs, but he is holding out for a new contract . . . Jets linebacker Bart Scott thinks it shouldn’t be Goodell’s call to consider ending the Pro Bowl. “The Pro Bowl was before his reign and will be after his reign, so it’s not up to him, I believe, to cancel the Pro Bowl,’’ Scott said. “It’s tradition.’’ The NFL announced Wednesday that after a promise from players that the game will be more competitive, the NFL will hold the Pro Bowl in Honolulu next Jan. 27, a week before the Super Bowl.