IRVING, Texas – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he “fundamentally disagrees” with former league boss Paul Tagliabue’s decision not to discipline players in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal.
Speaking Wednesday after an owners meeting in the Dallas area, Goodell said he respected his predecessor’s decision, and believed it backed up the commissioner’s conclusion that the Saints ran a bounty program for three years and covered it up.
But Goodell took issue with Tagliabue vacating the yearlong suspension of linebacker Jonathan Vilma and shorter bans for three other current and former Saints players. In an NFL appeal ruling issued Tuesday, the former commissioner placed much of the blame with the Saints’ coaches and front office.
“I fundamentally disagree that this is something that lies just with coaches and management,” Goodell said. “I do think their leadership position needs to be considered, but I also believe these players were in leadership positions, also.”
Like Vilma, Saints Coach Sean Payton received a yearlong suspension. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely, and assistant Joe Vitt, who is now the interim head coach, was banned for six games. GM Mickey Loomis got an eight-game suspension.
“My personal view is I hold everyone responsible,” Goodell said. “Player health and safety is an important issue in this league. We’re all going to have to contribute to that, whether you’re a commissioner, whether you’re a coach, whether you’re a player, and we all have to be held accountable for it.”
REDSKINS: Three days after spraining his knee, quarterback Robert Griffin III was just a little gimpy on the practice field and very cagey behind the microphone.
He likes his chances of playing Sunday, but he and Coach Mike Shanahan want to keep the Cleveland Browns guessing as long as possible.
Griffin has a mild sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee, a favorable diagnosis considering the scary hit to his leg from defensive tackle Haloti Ngata at the end of a scramble late in regulation in Washington’s 31-28 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
COWBOYS: Receiver Dez Bryant is seeing another doctor to help determine if he can play the rest of this season with a broken finger on his left hand.
Coach Jason Garrett said Bryant’s health now and going forward are “huge factors” in making a decision.
VIKINGS: Punter Chris Kluwe says he was fined $5,250 by the NFL for wearing a message on his uniform promoting Ray Guy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
CARDINALS: Arizona has given up hope that Kevin Kolb will return this season, placing the only quarterback who had success with the team this season on injured reserve and naming rookie Ryan Lindley as starter for Sunday’s game against Detroit.
OFFICIALS: Officiating chief Carl Johnson will head back to the field next year as the league’s first full-time game official.
Johnson, who has been the league’s vice president of officiating since 2010, was a line judge for nine seasons before heading into the NFL offices.
Under the collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Referees Association reached in September, the league is allowed to hire some officials on a full-time basis.
PACKERS: Defensive back Charles Woodson won’t be back for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.
Woodson practiced last week for the first time since breaking his collarbone Oct. 21.