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Goodell hears appeals from Payton, Loomis, Vitt

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By PFW staff

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell heard appeals from Saints head coach Sean Payton, assistant head coach Joe Vitt and GM Mickey Loomis on Thursday. They are all appealing suspensions stemming from their roles in the team’s bounty program.

According to NFL.com’s Steve Wyche, Goodell’s decision could come as early as Friday but is more likely to come next week.

David Cornwell, who is Vitt’s lawyer, told reporters he thought the commissioner was “extremely receptive.”

"Coach Joe Vitt and I met today with Commissioner Goodell, Jeff Pash, Adolpho Birch, and NFL security for about an hour and a half," Cornwell said in a statement. "Coach Vitt wanted to meet face to face with the Commissioner to take full responsibility for certain matters while taking the opportunity to make clear that despite inflammatory language and irresponsible conduct, New Orleans Saints' coaches did not coach and Saints' players did not play to injure their opponents. We thought the discussion was productive and informative — so, we achieved our objective."

Payton was suspended for one year, Loomis for eight games and Vitt for six. The team was fined $500,000 and docked two second-round draft picks.

The appeals were heard hours after audio was released of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams encouraging his players to injure 49ers players before the team’s playoff meeting last postseason. According to Judy Battista of The New York Times, Cornwell says that Williams was a “rogue coach.”

Williams received an indefinite suspension and did not appeal. He is now with the Rams.

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