No Announcement of Saints Players Punishments until after NFL Draft
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell won't hand down punishments to New Orleans Saints players for the Bountygate scandal until after the draft, according to NFL.com.
Goodell said that the league was in its "final stages" of working out the punishments and Saints players will be disciplined "very soon." According to Steve Wyche of NFL Network, that punishment could come next week at the earliest.
Anywhere from 22 to 27 Saints players allegedly participated in the bounty program from 2009 to 2011, a program that rewarded players for injuring their opponents. Head coach Sean Payton has already been given a one-year suspension, and general manager Mickey Loomis has been suspended for the first eight games of next season.
The NFL union reportedly expects only one to two players who participated in the program to be punished but believes the punishments will be severe. Jonathan Vilma is expected to be one of these players.
There is really no telling how many players will be punished at this point, but judging by the penalties handed down to the Saints organization so far, it's likely the fallout will be harsh. The NFL has already made its stance clear—such actions will not be tolerated.
The Saints are coming off a 13-3 campaign in which they made it to the NFC Divisional Round before getting knocked out by the San Francisco 49ers, 36-32. The players and coaching staff will need to rebound quickly. It doesn't help that Drew Brees is still sitting out after being slapped with the franchise tag.