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Thursday, March 22, 2012
Punter: Ban Jonathan Vilma for life

By Pat Yasinskas

Forget the feud between Warren Sapp and Jeremy Shockey. That’s old news.

It’s time for a new chapter in the sad saga that is the fallout from the New Orleans Saints bounty program. Now, it’s Minnesota punter Chris Kluwe telling a Minnesota radio station he believes New Orleans middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma should be banned from the NFL.

"My position has always been that I think Vilma and [former New Orleans defensive coordinator] Gregg Williams should be banned for life and then [coach Sean] Payton should get a year, their GM [Mickey Loomis] should get a year and anyone who knowingly took money after a hit that injured someone should get a year as well,’’ Kluwe said.

Vilma was specifically named in the NFL’s report for putting up $10,000 of his own money to anyone who injured Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre in a Jan. 24, 2010 playoff game in New Orleans. Kluwe recalled it was obvious something out of the ordinary was going on.

"Me and [kicker] Ryan [Longwell] were kind of looking at each other on the bench going, 'Are they really going after Brett?'" Kluwe said. "Like, 'Is this really what they're doing?' But you don't want to believe that something like that is happening because you think better of the other players.

"You don't want to think that they're doing something like that. I think that was part of the thing that the league was looking at [in its investigation] was like, 'OK, we've really got to make sure that this is true because otherwise it's going to make the sport look really bad.'"

Payton has been suspended for a year and Williams has been suspended indefinitely. There has been no disciplinary action taken against Vilma yet. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to first meet with representatives from the NFL Players Association before issuing any punishment for players involved.