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NFL: Saints appeal hearings expected this week
There are also three strong candidates among Saints assistants to take over as interim coach: offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer. Payton expressed confidence in the abilities of his own assistants to compensate for his absence, but also has voiced some misgivings about saddling those coaches with additional responsibilities.
Loomis will be able to oversee the draft and handle other roster moves up until the season starts. Then, barring a successful appeal, he will serve his suspension for failing to put a stop to the bounty system in a timely way.
Payton said earlier this week that he had already laid out plans for the offseason training program and the beginning of training camp, up until the Saints play Arizona in the Hall of Fame game Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio.
The NFL’s investigation in New Orleans found that Payton initially lied to league investigators about the existence of a bounty program and instructed his defensive assistants to do the same. It also found that Loomis did not do enough to put a stop to the enterprise after he was informed that the league was looking into it.
Payton twice apologized for his role in the bounty program, saying he takes “full responsibility” for a system that operated for three years under his watch.
The NFL has said as many as 27 players also could be sanctioned for their role in the scandal, but it is not yet clear when that might happen, creating additional uncertainty for New Orleans and some teams that have signed former Saints defensive regulars as they tried to build their 2012 rosters.
DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, told the website Pro Player Insiders that the league hasn’t turned over what the union would consider direct evidence of player involvement in a `pay to injure’ scheme.
“If there is direct evidence of a `pay to injure’ scheme implicating players or anybody involved,” Smith said, “we are asking the league to turn over that information.”
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
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