Sean Payton, Loomis hearings set
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis are planning to be at the NFL's New York offices Tuesday for their respective appeals of suspensions as a result of the bounty program the team used from 2009-11, a source close to the situation told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has vowed to make it an expedited appeal, with his ruling coming days after Payton and Loomis get a chance to state their case.
Mailbag: Logic Behind Payton's Appeal
It might seem odd, but Saints coach Sean Payton did the right thing by appealing his suspension, John Clayton writes. Mailbag
The appeal process will mirror the in-season player process, which is expedited for competitive reasons. It should be a matter of days, not weeks, with one person saying "a very few days at that."
Goodell on Monday confirmed the expedited nature of the appeals process, saying in an interview with CNBC that he hopes to have a decision on the appeals by the end of this week.
Payton has said an advantage to an appeal is it would give him the opportunity for another face-to-face meeting with Goodell, in order to clarify the terms of his suspension. Goodell said Monday that while Payton definitely cannot "coach from home," he would not necessarily be banned from all contact with the team.
Payton was suspended for one year, beginning April 1 and ending after the Super Bowl. Loomis was suspended for eight games, beginning after the Saints' final preseason game.
Saints spokesman Greg Bensel on Friday confirmed that Loomis was appealing his eight-game suspension and, separately, the team would challenge its $500,000 fine and loss of second-round draft picks this year and in 2013. The Saints did not confirm Payton's appeal.
Saints linebackers coach Joe Vitt also will appeal his six-game suspension, according to his attorney, David Cornwell. No date for that appeal has been set.
In other developments, the NFL Players Association has told players involved in the bounty case there's a chance they could face criminal charges and it hired outside counsel to represent them if needed.
While Goodell mulls how to punish as many as 27 players for their role in the scandal, the NFLPA recommended players have a lawyer and union representative present when they are interviewed by NFL investigators, two people familiar with the case told The Associated Press on Sunday.
The union plans to head to New York this week to meet with league security staff and review additional evidence, taking up the NFL on an offer it made more than once. NFL.com reported that the union's meeting with Goodell and NFL security officials will take place Monday afternoon.
DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, told the website Pro Player Insiders that the league hasn't turned over what the union would consider direct evidence of player involvement in a 'pay to injure' scheme.
"If there is direct evidence of a "pay to injure" scheme implicating players or anybody involved," Smith said, "we are asking the league to turn over that information."
Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who left the Saints after last season to join the St. Louis Rams, ran the bounty program and has been suspended indefinitely. Williams has not yet appealed his suspension and it is not known if he will do so.
Payton has several options in finding a temporary replacement. He could reach into his staff and promote Vitt, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr., offensive line coach Aaron Kromer or defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Carmichael, according to a source, would prefer to just call plays, and Vitt is suspended for six games. If Spagnuolo is promoted, Payton might have to find a new defensive coordinator.
Payton and Loomis also have met with retired coach Bill Parcells.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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