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Joe Vitt is the key figure in the Saints' Vicodin controversy

Lost, to an extent, in the initial wave of reports regarding the lawsuit filed against the Saints alleging that former director of security Geoffrey Santini resigned after G.M. Mickey Loomis tried to cover up the theft and/or abuse of Vicodin is the potential role of assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt. 

A 55-year-old whose 30-year chain of NFL jobs dates back to the 1979 Baltimore Colts, Vitt spent 11 games as the interim head coach of the Rams in 2005, after a heart ailment knocked Mike Martz out of action.  And Vitt — the unnamed senior staff member who was receiving large quantities of Vicodin due to a medical condition — supposedly appears on video removing Vicodin from the team’s drug locker.

Peter King of SI.com provides an excellent summary and interpretation of the situation in his Monday Morning Quarterback column, pointing out that G.M. Mickey Loomis allegedly directed Santini to not preserve the evidence before the surveillance system covered it up with new footage.  Apparently, Santini defied Loomis and preserved the video — keeping (we’re told) a copy of the tape. 

And if the tape shows Vitt taking Vicodin from the drug locker, Vitt has a big problem.

If the feds decide to investigate the matter aggressively, Vitt could at some point be confronted with hand-in-the-cookie-jar evidence of guilt, and then he’d be asked to provide any and all information he may have regarding the abuse, theft, or overprescription of Vicodin within the organization.  Like any other investigation involving multiple players and layers, the feds would use the evidence against Vitt as leverage to troll for a bigger fish, or two.

Whether Vitt can help them catch a bigger fish, or two, remains to be seen.  Regardless, it’s the kind of situation that necessarily will lead to frayed nerves and unwanted distractions as the team tries to rest up from its extended Super Bowl victory lap (which to some extent could still be continuing) and focus on trying to defend the first title in franchise history.

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47 Responses to “Joe Vitt is the key figure in the Saints' Vicodin controversy”
  1. Boudin says: May 3, 2010 12:21 PM

    what happened to the article that was posted this morning?

  2. mixman34 says: May 3, 2010 12:25 PM

    Week one W – Minnesota Vikings
    We’re comin.

  3. Big Stuff says: May 3, 2010 12:29 PM

    The Feds have already looked at this matter and have concluded there was nothing.

  4. silverback says: May 3, 2010 12:29 PM

    * on that SB victory. No doubt that Sean Payton and his cronies were using illegal drugs to enhance the Saints performance on the field last year. Drew Brees on painkillers, and the coach who supplied him will be the story lines very soon. Wait and see.

  5. kennethnoisewater says: May 3, 2010 12:30 PM

    Keep your mouth shut Joe….. misdemeanor possession at worst, don’t let them spook you

  6. Saints#12 says: May 3, 2010 12:31 PM

    “Brett Favre is going to re-tire” according to his realitives.you heard it here 1st.

  7. robert ethan says: May 3, 2010 12:31 PM

    Vicodin Vitt may be the guy who lights up the 21st Century version of the “snack bowl full of amphetamines on the trainer’s table”. Meanwhile those idiots over in MLB are still looking for steriods.
    Guys, I pretty sure you can buy the uppers and the roids at card signing shows along with throwback jerseys and other memorabelia these days.

  8. Drat says: May 3, 2010 12:34 PM

    OK, let’s get real.
    First, King’s story is inconsistent (110 pills stolen, or 130?) Second, he relies on a dubious source.
    But the key thing is this, and it has serious legal implications. King and Florio are jumping on the bandwagon to dump blame on Vitt. Think about it. Vitt apparently (but maybe not) had a prescription for Vicodin. He did not need to steal it. He could go to his doctor and ask for more. Why would Vitt steal it if he had a prescription??
    But his boss, the head coach, the genius Sean, asked Vitt to get him Vicodin. Your boss says “Please get me some Vicodin” — this is not a mystery. Vitt’s crime was falling victim to what all of us might do, getting the boss what he wanted or else. Vitt will take the blame and the legal consequences, but it is inconceivable given the circumstances that he was doing this for selfish reasons. Do you think he was offering free Vicodin to Payton as a friendly gift? No, Payton asked him to get it. No other scenario makes any sense at all.
    Vicodin contains opiate narcotics, by the way.

  9. BayouWarrior says: May 3, 2010 12:35 PM

    Why is this a story, Florio you will push and push, but the fact of the matter no one gives a sh//t about a few missing pain pills, just ask Farve

  10. Dapollock says: May 3, 2010 12:37 PM

    Seems to me the Vitt has hit the fan.

  11. hayward giablommi says: May 3, 2010 12:37 PM

    Still trying to find a reason why I (or anyone else) should give a flying fudge about this story.
    Haven’t come across one yet.
    Wake me up in September.

  12. se18a29 says: May 3, 2010 12:39 PM

    Cheating team, drug abusing coaches… Tainted championship for sure…

  13. robert ethan says: May 3, 2010 12:39 PM

    Santini meet Baravecchio. Police officer/security guards by day, panderers and blackmailers by night.
    “Utsa matta f’you guys, you got no honor?”.

  14. dafish says: May 3, 2010 12:43 PM

    Kinda shocked this story didn’t break til the Saturday before the Super Bowl a few months ago. I remember down here there were rumblings about Peyton Manning’s extramarital affairs.
    I wonder if Goodell is gonna suspend Vitt and Payton for 6 games.

  15. AZ Red Bird says: May 3, 2010 12:46 PM

    Drat YOU ARE AN IDIOT….
    109 or 130…who cares…HE STOLE PILLS!
    If someone breaks in and trashes you house…you report 80% of your stuff was stolen…when in fact 75% of you stuff was stolen….therefore the robber should get off FREE with no criminal charges..because YOU reported the wrong number….
    Get a F’n CLUE!

  16. Rick says: May 3, 2010 12:46 PM

    does Florio pay royalties to Peter King?

  17. se18a29 says: May 3, 2010 12:49 PM

    Big Stuff says:
    May 3, 2010 12:29 PM
    The Feds have already looked at this matter and have concluded there was nothing.
    WRONG!

  18. WHODAT says: May 3, 2010 12:55 PM

    Week one a W for the Vikqueens???
    yea maybe if yall dont turn the ball over 8 times…LMFAO what a joke of a team.
    Vikqueens you should be mad that yall have to start off the season the same way yall finished the last one. LOSING TO THE SAINTS AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA

  19. Drat says: May 3, 2010 12:58 PM

    Vicodin is the closest thing you can get in pill form to morphine and heroin. (And from personal experience in a legal prescribed manner, let me tell you, Vicodin is nice.)
    Florio is sooooo flattered that King cited him, that Florio goes along with King’s analysis. Which is wrong. Nothing about this case makes any sense unless Payton was specifically requesting Vitt to acquire Vicodin for him. Vitt apparently had a prescription. The key bit of evidence in the legal case is this simple: did Vitt actually have a prescription for Vicodin? Go, Florio, figure it out. Vitt wouldn’t be stealing it for himself if he got it by prescription.

  20. Drat says: May 3, 2010 1:04 PM

    To Joe Vitt,
    You are truly one of the few nice guys in the NFL. You florked up in this case, and it can only get uglier. But go to authorities NOW, and tell them the truth. Don’t take the fall for your boss. That strategy is expected by bosses, but it never works over the long run. Be honest. Tell the feds: “I stole Vicodin because Sean Payton asked me to as a personal favor.”

  21. Patsfan1776 says: May 3, 2010 1:04 PM

    King’s story isn’t consistent. 110 pills were stolen. Then security cameras were put in. 8 pills were stolen. Then the pills were moved and more pills were stolen adding up to 130 pills.
    I disagree with Florio as to Vitt being the key figure. The GM is the key figure as he is violating all sorts of laws. Vitt seems like a person with a substance abuse issue but the GM is covering up, directing subordinates to violate laws, etc.

  22. SF Saints Fan says: May 3, 2010 1:15 PM

    Florio:
    If you are going to make the following type of allegation/supposition:
    “If the feds decide to investigate the matter aggressively, Vitt could at some point be confronted with hand-in-the-cookie-jar evidence of guilt…”
    Then please be fair and report the following “facts” please:
    “The Feds have known about this issue for over NINE MONTHS, including the US Attorneys Office in New Orleans, along with NFL Security and nothing has happened.”
    Maybe there is no fire, just a lot of smoke, hot air and regret by a former employee who was so concerned about what was “going on”/allegedly that he quit his job before last season began, but was not so concerned about the propriety of what was allegedly occurring that a cool $2 million would have made him forget about it.
    Maybe Geoffrey Santini is just a little upset that even though he went against his employers orders and tried to fry his fellow employees, and he turned over his “evidence” to the US Attorneys Office who presumably got the DEA involved, and he turned over his “evidence” to NFL Security and over NINE MONTHS later nothing has happened. Maybe he is ticked off that he quit the team and they went on to win the Super Bowl, he won’t get a ring now……
    Obviously a disgruntled former employee, who turned over all of this “evidence” to the US Attorneys Office and NFL Security over NINE MONTHS AGO, would not be just a little ticked off that nothing was done about it and it looks like he quit his job over nothing, at least nothing that he thought a cool $2 Million wouldn’t cure!

  23. FAS says: May 3, 2010 1:17 PM

    This story is dopey.

  24. hayward giablommi says: May 3, 2010 1:19 PM

    “Vicodin is the closest thing you can get in pill form to morphine and heroin”
    ^^^^^
    Percocet and/or oxycontin would have something to say about that.

  25. They_Hate_We says: May 3, 2010 1:22 PM

    Just saw the show on NFL network about the 98 Vikings. You know I used to feel bad for teams that got that close only to let it slip away. After reading some of the crap you asshats post, i’m glad the Vikings are cursed. No fan base deserves a championship less than you.
    Saints fans, keep your chins up. Like the hatred spewed for the Pats before you, Viking fans are helpless. This is the only way they know how to respond.

  26. BornSlippy says: May 3, 2010 1:30 PM

    Most NFL players play on some sort of pain killer.
    Goes to show every team has a shady thing going on.

  27. Ilovefoolsball says: May 3, 2010 1:31 PM

    Oh save us DEA, King, and Florio from those dangerous vicodin dealers. Save us from this cheating vicodin using team. Strip the saints of their title! Fire the coach! Make Kim kardashian go without make up for a day! The consequences must be severe! Never again must anyone having anything to do with the NFL take vicodin!
    Puleease. This story is so pathetic. Vicodin? I mean I could see if it was steroids or pot or coke but vicodin? The stuff they give you at the dentist when you get your wisdom teeth pulled? Hahaha
    if this was any other team than the super bowl champs it would be a non story. For those of you who think this will be the end of the saints success think again. If they are gonna punih Payton they damn sure better punish Brett Fart. Because he already admitted to abusing prescription drugs.

  28. Primetime17 says: May 3, 2010 1:33 PM

    did we expect anything less from this loser organization? It goes from the “aint’s” to the “taint’s”. Yeah, I know not quite as clever as “Viqueens”.

  29. purpleguy says: May 3, 2010 1:47 PM

    Jay Glazer will probably find and publish this tape in a week.

  30. BigEasy says: May 3, 2010 2:05 PM

    Florio, this or any other article you can come up with will not deter the ass whipping and subsequent…Wah Wah…stories we’ll have to sift through after the ass whipping the Viqueens take on Sept 9th….
    …move along people…nothing to see here!!

  31. Nola5712 says: May 3, 2010 2:09 PM

    “When it comes out that this whole thing is made out of lies and innuendo…
    …and was spread by MF at PFT, I hope that the Saints, Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, Joe Vitt, and the NFL all combine to sue him out of financial existence. Heck, I hope they sue him out of EXISTENCE. He’s a turd.
    He’s a freakin’ cockroach that is a) a blatant homer for the Vikings and b) is using lies, innuendo, and fabrication to try and increase readership of his blog, making it a better moneymaker for NBC, and giving himself leverage to try and get a pay raise.
    I refuse to believe one word of this frivolous lawsuit until real evidence is presented, so far it’s all a bunch of accusations without any corroborating evidence, spun into a “story” by a guy that couldn’t make money as a lawyer, so he now spreads horse manure and calls it sports journalism.”
    “Florio = human parasite and a total waste of oxygen.”
    just a couple comments from a blog that actually talks football. florio i only wanted to remind you of how useless and how much of a failure you are.
    to the sore-vag vikes fans who call the saints “cheaters”. please elaborate seeing as the team has never cheated. your purple fecal eaters shouldn’t turn the ball over 7,000 times. get some vagisil for yourself, your team, and your sorry excuse for a fanbase and stfu. vikes will never win anything except an all expense paid trip to los angeles for good. enjoy the twins you ass hats.
    this ain’t detroit man!!!
    bahahahaha

  32. WVUColumbus says: May 3, 2010 2:11 PM

    I feel obliged to leave a comment for fans of LOSER programs. Get over it.
    The Saints are Champs! The Steelers were Champs! The Patriots were Champs! The Colts were Champs! The Giants were Champs!
    A new ‘conspiracy theory’ emerges due to the instant news blogs such as this fine one on an annual basis. That doesn’t change the fact that these teams are Champs! Get over it! Quit trying to sling mud at those who have outworked, outhustled, and outperformed your favorite team. Deal with it.

  33. KingOkra says: May 3, 2010 2:17 PM

    If this is true, then you pathetic losers should really feel bad that a doped up Sean Payton is still smart enough to kick the crap out of your pathetic teams and your sober, crappy coaches. I’m sure none of you has taken a prescription pain killer not prescribed to you before. Like, remember the time you threw out your shoulder jacking off to racy photos of Brett Farve? Thank God your cousin had some percocet from his dental surgery. My advice is get a life. Hey, I hear your phone ringing…it’s DeVry. Looks like your ship just came in.

  34. robert ethan says: May 3, 2010 2:17 PM

    Well, now we know why saints walk around with beautific smiles all the time and have visions.

  35. mixman34 says: May 3, 2010 2:23 PM

    Ya’ll? HAHA Vikings Win.

  36. Drat says: May 3, 2010 2:27 PM

    Foolsball Lover,
    Yeah, they give it for pulling wisdom teeth. Because it works. (And you date yourself with that admission as being a young, naive person.) It is an opiate narcotic. So what’s your point? You think pot is worse? (or better, depending on one’s point of view.) Vicodin is extremely addictive, and it contains elements that wreck your liver. Especially if you drink (which no NFL coaches ever do, I acknowledge.) Pot is M&Ms compared to Vicodin.
    To quote you: “Hahaha”

  37. tfprop says: May 3, 2010 2:29 PM

    Man, no wonder the Saints beat FIVE, repeat 5 former Suerbowl MVP Quarterbacks like rag dolls last year (Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Kurt Warner, Bret Farve, Peyton Manning), and owned their teams by an average margin of victory of about 21 points. and sent one, maybe two of them into retirement! They weren’t feeling a thing!!! WooooHoooo!

  38. Ron says: May 3, 2010 2:29 PM

    Florio says
    Like any other investigation involving multiple players and layers, the feds would use the evidence
    What “evidence” do the feds get from the Layers???
    Do the Lawyers include Travis Henry in the Layers??
    Is Florio a member of the Layers?
    Catcher or pitcher??

  39. AZ Red Bird says: May 3, 2010 2:31 PM

    Drat –
    AGAIN YOU ARE AN IDIOT – ‘go tell them the truth’
    Yea, just like Rothlesburger should have done…and he’d have had no problems. He’d be in prison right now.
    Any time and I mean ANY TIME the cops come around….you get an attorney. Cops ARE NOT on your side and they can read through the lies.
    Let your attorney deal with anything and everything.
    The best thing to do when a cop shows up…is hand them your attorney’s card and say NOTHING.
    Vitt may have been selling them on the side…who knows?

  40. footballfan1979 says: May 3, 2010 2:50 PM

    Love these Minnesota and Indy fans trying to grab on to anything to make them feel better for getting owned last season. Yeah so a guy may have taken some pills, just like junkie Favre still does. A coach on pain killers doesn’t give you an advantage, but your old OB, well thats another story.
    Good luck in the first game Minnesota! Maybe you all will win, but we won the one that mattered! Have fun with your fumbling RB, redneck DE, and old man QB. I doubt you all even make the playoffs.
    Saints are the champs and there is nothing you can do about it!

  41. Boudin says: May 3, 2010 2:59 PM

    “Vitt may have been selling them on the side…who knows?”
    at around $1 a pop on the street (google vicodin street price) Joe Vitt stands to make anywhere from $110 to $130.
    that would definitely help supplement his measly assistant head coach’s paycheck…

  42. 69ers says: May 3, 2010 3:47 PM

    How is this not getting more attention? I mean you have a superbowl winning coach at least being mentioned. Limas’ Sweed injury got more attention.

  43. jsbmore says: May 3, 2010 4:03 PM

    Those of you who said that if Vitt had a prescription there would be no need to steal more pills. You are very wrong.
    Vicodin is a highly addictive narcotic and prescriptions are typically administered in a very controlled fashion – i.e. they don’t just give you as many pills as you want. The more you take them, the more you need them. Therefore, when the Rx runs out, you either curl up in a fetal position in the corner, kick the habit, wait for the next refill -OR- wait for it…you steal more pills to satisfy your addiction.
    Most of you are mo-mos.

  44. spyboots says: May 3, 2010 5:05 PM

    @Then please be fair and report the following “facts” please.
    Florio doesn’t go by all the facts. He just gleans out the few “facts” that emphasize his own beliefs and prejudges. He wants hits to the site and to get everyone riles up. Haven’t you learned that by now?

  45. SayItAin'tSoFlorio says: May 3, 2010 5:32 PM

    SF Saints Fan:
    Nine months might be a long time for NFL Security to make a decision, but it’s not for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Southeast Louisiana. There are a lot of cases that took much longer than that for Jim Letten to file any charges (i.e., Derrick Shepherd, Eddie Price, etc.). I also think the DEA just got involved recently, but that could be wrong.
    You could be right, that there is no (or not enough) evidence. But if that’s the case, the Saints should have filed a countersuit for extortion ($2 mil) by now. That seems like a no-brainer to me. Even Ben Roethlisberger did that in his Nevada civil case.

  46. rectd says: May 3, 2010 10:07 PM

    I agree with the comments of the Florio lynch mob haters. What obligation does this guy have to report the crime? To report a cover up, yes, but his duty was to the club. He still thought he was working for the FBI, not the Saints. The Saints employed him. If the Law was on to it and he was ordered to cover up, that’s a crime. But he had to see several crimes as security director. So what are you options? “Fellows, I don’t and won’t live my life this way so let’s call it day. I love my job and I have a family. I should not have to leave this way so you have to cover me on this for a couple of years.” But A FREAKIN 2,000,000 dollars? @RalphCindrich on Twitter

  47. jonjonphenom says: May 4, 2010 5:54 PM

    I am surprised Football Fan isn’t here resorting to his usual New Orleans is the worst city in the world crap. Must be busy beating off to the latest Brett Favre Wrangler ad I suppose.

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