Unfair to criticize Allen in Saints' scandal

March, 3, 2012
3/03/12
2:15
PM ET
Where does Dennis Allen stand in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal that has rocked the NFL?

He stands in Oakland, focused on revitalizing the Raiders as he begins his tenure as head coach. End of story.

Unless more information comes out (and it seems like the NFL’s investigation was pretty thorough) that implicates Allen, I don’t expect him to face any punishment for being a part of the scandal. Allen was an assistant coach with the Saints from 2006-10. According to the league’s investigation, Saints players were given cash bonuses for hits that caused opposing players to leave games from 2009-2011. Allen was the Saints’ defensive backs coach in 2009 and 2010.

Former New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, owner Tom Benson, general manager Mickey Loomis, coach Sean Payton and several players were implicated in the scandal per the NFL’s investigation. Allen, who reportedly declined to comment on the story, was not part of the report.

Unless more information comes out to the contrary, I will assume Allen was not part of it and he doesn’t deserve any discipline, scrutiny or criticism. Do I think Allen was aware of the bounty program? I guess it would be difficult for him not to be, but that doesn’t make him guilty.

A lot of people I trust tell me Allen is as principled and respectful of the game as they come. In my one meeting thus far with him, I didn’t come away with any alternate impressions.

This story shouldn’t take any shine off Allen’s hire in Oakland nor should it make people think the Raiders just hired some loose cannon who has no regard for the spirit of the game. There shouldn’t be guilt by association here unless proven otherwise.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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