- Ed Werder, ESPN NFL Insider
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The lawyer for Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has served both former New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former defensive assistant Mike Cerullo with subpoenas in his defamation suit against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, according to a source.
Lawyer Peter Ginsberg served the subpoenas last week.
Williams and Cerullo appear to have provided most of the evidence the league used in the historic punishments of Vilma, three other current or former Saints players, plus head coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt.
During his meeting with Goodell on Monday, Vilma was presented with signed affidavits from both Williams and Cerullo. Vilma told ESPN he denied the accusation made by Williams in testimony he signed three days before the linebacker's hearing, claiming Vilma helped to fund an illegal pay-for-performance incentive pool and offered a $10,000 reward to any teammate knocking Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC Championship Game.
"Mike Cerullo should be commended for coming forward," the NFL said in a statement. "The information and detail he provided was credible and has since been confirmed in numerous respects both by other witnesses and by supporting documents. It is unfortunate that some have sought to unfairly attack his integrity rather than give attention to the substance of his declaration."
The other three players -- New Orleans defensive end Will Smith (four games), Browns linebacker Scott Fujita (three) and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove (eight) -- were to meet with Goodell on Tuesday but Fujita told the NFL that he couldn't attend.
"Scott is committed to a just and fair resolution in this matter, but he is also committed to his teammates and his club. He is still undergoing treatment for a knee injury and is preparing for this week's game," the NFLPA said in a statement. "We scheduled a video conference with the league but they informed us that they were only interested in an in-person meeting."
Smith and Hargrove entered the league offices in New York for their meeting with Goodell on Tuesday afternoon and left around 4 p.m. ET, approximately three hours after they arrived.
Ginsberg told reporters Monday that what Williams said in the affidavit shown to Vilma on Monday "is the same falsity he has previously provided."
"I don't know what Gregg Williams' motives are, but I do know that any suggestion by Williams that Jonathan put up $10,000 as an incentive for his teammates to injure another player is absolutely false."
Vilma tweeted on Monday night that Williams was "bullied to sign the affidavit," saying Williams signed it on Friday.
Williams is now with St. Louis, though he has been suspended indefinitely. An associate of his said Williams did not want to talk to the media.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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