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That violation pales in comparison to a bounty of up to $50,000 over the last three seasons that rewarded players for knocking targeted opponents out of games. The Saints can expect heavier sanctions than those given the Patriots, with suspensions likely for Loomis and Payton and a seven-figure fine for the organization.

“I don’t think there can be a limited focus _ if the league only is looking to penalize players and coaches,” said George Martin, executive director of NFL Alumni and a former player, adding: “It is kind of shocking it still goes on in this time and age.

“The organization has to take responsibility for it because it took place under their jurisdiction,” he said. “The league needs to do whatever it takes in the way of discipline to make sure this is stemmed.”

John Lynch, an outstanding safety for 16 seasons, once was fined $75,000 for a hit on Indianapolis tight end Dallas Clark. Lynch was one of the hardest and surest tacklers in the NFL. He is just as sure that Goodell will hand out hefty punishments.

“I would expect this to be pretty severe and harsh because of the direction the commissioner has taken in making player safety if not his top initiative, then one of them,” Lynch said. “If this is true, as blatant as this is, and to have a coach out there saying, `You knock this guy out of the game. Get him taken off on a cart. Here is the monetary reward,’ you need a severe and harsh punishment.”

That coach has been identified by the league as Williams, who could face a year’s suspension and a six-figure fine. Maybe more.

The Rams would not say Tuesday what duties Williams currently is performing.

“Coach Williams has shown contrition for his actions and continues to cooperate with the NFL in this investigation,” Rams GM Kevin Demoff told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Out of respect for the NFL’s ongoing process, we will refrain from commenting until the league has come to a final decision on all aspects of this matter.”

Williams could turn to the NFL Coaches Association for help. Its executive director, David Cornwell, was concerned about individual coaches being singled out.

“As this matter unfolds,” Cornwell said, “I will work with our executive committee to protect the interests of individual coaches without compromising the NFLCA’s fundamental belief that fair play and sportsmanship begins with the men who teach the game.”

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AP Sports Writer Brett Martel in New Orleans contributed to this story.