Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Browns' Fujita could be disciplined
By Jamison Hensley
Browns linebacker Scott Fujita could face disciplinary action stemming from the Saints' bounty scandal. Fujita, who played for New Orleans from 2006 to 2009 (the 2009 season was his only one under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams), was linked to the bounty probe in a report by ESPN's Chris Mortensen earlier this month.
The NFL is still reviewing player involvement in the bounty program, according to the league's official release announcing disciplinary action:
Commissioner Goodell said he will separately address potential sanctions for players and others with documented involvement in the bounty program.
“While I will not address player conduct at this time, I am profoundly troubled by the fact that players – including leaders among the defensive players – embraced this program so enthusiastically and participated with what appears to have been a deliberate lack of concern for the well-being of their fellow players,” Commissioner Goodell said. “While all club personnel are expected to play to win, they must not let the quest for victory so cloud their judgment that they willingly and willfully target their opponents and engage in unsafe and prohibited conduct intended to injure players.”
While NFL staff has interviewed people in connection with public allegations of bounty programs at other clubs, no evidence was established showing that the programs at other clubs involved targeting opposing players or rewarding players for injuring an opponent. Commissioner Goodell emphasized that if additional information is brought to his attention that discloses bounties offered for injuring specific opposing players, he will revisit the matter to consider additional discipline.
Fujita is a member of the NFL Players Association's Executive Committee and has been an advocate for players' safety. He called for independent neurologists to be on the sidelines for every NFL game after Browns quarterback Colt McCoy was allowed to go back into the Steelers game last season with a concussion. Fujita is scheduled to earn $3.65 million in 2012, the final season of his contract.
Browns safety Usama Young also played for the Saints from 2007 to 2010.
According to the NFL, Saints players were financially rewarded during the 2009 to '11 seasons for big defensive plays, including knocking opponents out of games. Between 22 and 27 players contributed funds to a pool, according to the league.