From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL presented Jonathan Vilma and his attorney with a sworn statement from former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams saying the linebacker placed a 10,000 bounty on Brett Favre.Vilma met with Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday in New York about his suspension, which has been temporarily lifted. Attorney Peter Ginsberg said they were given an affidavit at the meeting."What Gregg Williams said in his most recent affidavit is the same falsity he has previously provided," Ginsberg said."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.Vilma, who denied in court that he offered money in exchange for injuring the former Vikings quarterback, was one of four players suspended by Goodell in the bounty scandal."Today everyone was afforded an opportunity to start over," Vilma said outside the NFL's Park Avenue offices more than three hours after he went in. "It was in our best interest to meet today. We spoke truthfully, honestly, bluntly."An appeals panel earlier this month said Goodell must clarify his rulings to ensure no part of his decisions was based on salary cap violations. That would be the jurisdiction of special master Stephen Burbank.Goodell must show that the basis for the discipline was inappropriate conduct -- such as intent to injure -- rather than any secret monetary compensation. In that case, he has full authority to impose the suspensions.Players and coaches implicated in the bounty pool have testified under oath in a related federal court case they never intended to injure opposing players.New Orleans defensive end Will Smith (four games), Browns linebacker Scott Fujita (three) and free agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove (eight) are expected to have their meeting Tuesday."We appreciate Jonathan Vilma taking the time to meet today and look forward to seeing the other players tomorrow," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.Smith played in each of the Saints' first two games and Vilma is on the physically unable to perform list. Fujita made his season debut in Cleveland's loss to Cincinnati on Sunday. Hargrove was cut by Green Bay during the preseason.Vilma, initially suspended for the entire season, requested a separate meeting. He hasn't played because he is on the physically unable to perform list as he rehabilitates following offseason surgery on his left knee.
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FOXBORO -- To think there’d be no further questions about the Tom Brady-Jimmy Garoppolo dynamic when Brady’s four-game suspension ends would be moronic.
Bill Belichick won’t like them. He’s destined to give them the verbal Heisman. But there are aspects to the story which demand further interrogation.
So there’s those questions. And then there’s baiting for the sake of baiting, which is what happened Friday morning.
A reporter asked Belichick, “You said Tom will start when he’s eligible. Can you think of an occasion when you named a Week 5 starter in July?”
“Yeah, I don’t know,” Belichick said.
“What happens if Jimmy plays better?”
“Look, I told you what’s gonna happen,” Belichick answered.
Pressing on, the reporter began, “So there’s no, there’s, there’s . . . ”
At that point, with Belichick reacting like he’d come open a month-old-corpse and muttering, “Jesus Christ," the reporter cut himself off.
I’ve been trying to steer clear of the media ombudsman business. But this stuff makes it hard. The first question was obtuse in the extreme. I don’t even know how that gets formulated.
This is not a Brady-Bledsoe scenario.
You have the best quarterback of his generation who – 17 months ago – took down what was supposed to be one of the great defenses in NFL history in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. A guy who got smashed all over the field in Denver at the age of 38 and still almost pulled out a win last January.
When that guy’s cleared to play, you sprint him onto the field regardless of the circumstances.
“If Jimmy plays better . . . ”? Better than what? Better than 11 touchdowns, no picks, 116-for-160 and 1,547 yards, which is what Brady did in the first four games last season? Better than Brady played in Denver while getting his head caved in every other play?
I understand that sometimes you have to ask the dumb question to get something on the record, but this was not that. This seemed like someone who really thought he was onto something. Was going to paint Belichick into an uncomfortable corner and hang him with his own words.
Now, you and I can sit on the front stoop and wonder what happens if Garoppolo plays ridiculously well then Brady comes back and spends four weeks playing like he’s never been on a field before and is clearly an impediment to the team’s success.
Won’t happen. But we can talk about it.
Asking Belichick if he’s gonna go with the hot hand when two days prior he told you what he was going to do is asking for a JC response.
Belichick probably figured that stating Brady was the Week 5 starter before he was asked was the best way to defuse idle speculation. “We’ll see . . . ” or “We always do what’s best for the football team . . . ” would have ignited a thousand hours of conversation about the budding quarterback controversy in New England.
Belichick now knows that the speculation and scenario spinning is coming anyway. JC may hear his name muttered a few more times from the podium between now and October.
On Day 2 of camp, Bill Belichick can't hide his annoyance when asked if Jimmy Garoppolo would remain Patriots starting QB after the first four games.