Saints coach Payton suspended after NFL investigation

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NFLThe NFL has suspended Sean Payton the coach of the New Orleans Saints for one year and defensive coach Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely. This follows an investigation by the NFL regarding a ‘bounty’ scheme whereby the Saints (16/1 to win Super Bowl XLVII) paid players for inflicting game ending injuries on targeted players for the last three seasons.

Payton, who led the Saints to victory in the 2010 Super Bowl, was accused of trying to cover up the system of extra cash payments and is the first head coach suspended by the league. His club have accepted his punishment and the numerous others handed down to it.

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis has been suspended for the first eight regular-season games of the 2012 season, while the club has also been fined $500,000 (£315,000) and ordered to forfeit their selections in the second round of the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts.

The NFL said as many as 27 defensive players were involved, the practice peaking in the 2009-10 season, which culminated in the Saints winning the Super Bowl. Williams left the Saints to take up a similar position with St Louis Rams (66/1 to win Super Bowl XLVII) in January. The discipline for individual players involved the programme is still under review with the NFL Players' Association and will be addressed at a later date.

It remains to be seen how this will affect the upcoming season as although no specific players have been named if the number is as high as 27 the chances are that several of players are no longer with the team.

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