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New Orleans had already beaten Detroit in the regular season, when Lions pass rusher Ndamukong Suh was serving a suspension for stomping an opponent.

Was Schwartz aware of anything untoward by the Saints, either time?

“Other than we got beat twice?” he said. “They were physical games but I don’t recall them drawing any penalties. We were the only ones drawing penalties (in Week 13). I don’t recall anything that the guys thought was extra.”

Mike Smith’s Falcons are the Saints‘ main rival in their division. Atlanta-New Orleans games usually are close, always are feisty.

“It is a physical game and there are rules we must play by,” Smith said. “As coaches, it is important we make sure we coach to that.”

One of the NFL’s most physical teams _ and most fined _ is Pittsburgh. Star linebacker James Harrison was suspended one game in 2011 for a hit to a defenseless player, Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. Harrison was deemed a repeat offender, and he frequently has been fined by Goodell for illegal hits.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said he’s heard of other teams supposedly placing bounties on the Steelers.

“That talk has been around, but for us, it’s not something that we’ve engaged in,” Tomlin said. “We’ve always been somewhat amused by it. Not that it’s amusing, of course.”

Seattle coach Pete Carroll spent 15 years working in the NFL before going to Southern California for nine hugely successful seasons in college football. He returned to the pros in 2010.

He misses the aura that surrounded some players with a tough-guy image, but recognized that times change.

“The lore of the players that were unique _ there’s not a place for that in a way,” he said. “Those of us who are the old-school guys, we miss that. We miss the uniqueness of the tough guys and the way that they were able to demonstrate that. But now, it just doesn’t fit.”


AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this story.