Scott Fujita, a union leader with a record of criticizing the NFL's player-safety record, sees elements of a "smear campaign" in a bounty investigation that has sullied his reputation. Some NFL players agree, and question whether Fujita's three-game suspension has something to do with retribution.
The NFL is denying accusations that it covered up retractions made by key witnesses in its bounty investigation, or that Commissioner Roger Goodell has placed gag orders on Saints employees and others who could help punished players clear their names.
Lawyer Peter Ginsberg, who represents suspended Saints player Jonathan Vilma, made the accusations when punished players appeared earlier this week for an appeal hearing, a full transcript of which has been obtained by The Associated Press.
NEW YORK — Former Saints defensive end Anthony Hargrove says it's not his voice saying "Give me the money" in a video used by the NFL as evidence in its investigation of the New Orleans bounty program.
Hargrove spoke Tuesday outside NFL headquarters.
Hargrove, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Jonathan Vilma each attended appeals hearings for their suspensions with Commissioner Roger Goodell at the league offices in Manhattan on Monday.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The agent for suspended defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove says the NFL has used semantics, but not hard evidence, as the basis for punishing Saints players in its bounty investigation. In a statement, agent Phil Williams questions whether the NFL made Hargrove a central figure in its investigation because his past drug suspensions made him an "easy target."
METAIRIE, La. (AP) — The New Orleans Saints and veteran cornerback Elbert Mack have agreed to a one-year contract. General manager Mickey Loomis, who announced the acquisition of Mack on Tuesday when the Saints opened minicamp. He says the club also has waived defensive tackle Mitch King.
The attorney for suspended New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma says a ledger of cash bonuses and fines for Saints players shows no proof of bounties placed on targeted opponents. Lawyer Peter Ginsberg says the leaking of the ledger shows how "irresponsible" NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been in handling the bounty probe.
Dennis Lauscha, a graduate of Loyola University and the newly promoted president of the New Orleans Saints, will return to his alma mater to teach a course on the business of professional football at the university's inaugural Alumni College.
The New Orleans Saints say they have the experience and leadership to have productive offseason practices even without their star quarterback. New Orleans is holding its first three offseason practices, called organized team activities, Tuesday through Thursday. Drew Brees is still holding out for a new contract.