Gregg Williams, the former defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins who is accused of administering improper bounty payments to Saints players to knock opponents out of games, met with NFL officials Monday, a person familiar with the case said.
Further details were not available. The meeting between Williams and members of the league’s security department was scheduled to be held in New York, but the league’s Web site reported that it did not take place at the NFL’s offices there. Williams met with members of the league’s security department but other NFL officials did not participate, according to the NFL site.
People throughout the league said earlier in the day they expected NFL officials to question Williams about reports that the Redskins and Buffalo Bills also had bounty programs when Williams coached those teams. Williams, now the defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams, is the former head coach of the Bills. In a written statement Friday, he apologized for being part of an improper pay-for- performance scheme with the Saints.
According to a person familiar with the Saints case, the NFL is considering severe, sweeping penalties that could include lengthy suspensions of Williams, Saints coach Sean Payton, General Manager Mickey Loomis and players who were heavily involved in the scheme.
Another person with knowledge of the league’s deliberations said the penalties in the Saints’ case could be particularly severe because Payton and Loomis were cited by the NFL’s investigation for failing to halt the bounty program.
While Saints owner Tom Benson cooperates with NFL officials in their investigation of the bounty program, he is standing behind Loomis and Payton – even though the league says they knew about the bounties.
“The bond between Sean and Mickey and Mr. Benson could not be stronger,” a team the official told The Associated Press on Monday on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still ongoing. “(Benson) is 110 percent behind his guys.”
The NFL also will investigate accusations that the Redskins had a bounty program.