Ten months ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he would consider “modifying” the Saints’ bounty discipline with respect to the 2013 second-round draft pick he revoked. But Goodell now says there will be no such modification.
At his annual “State of the League” press conference on Friday in New Orleans, Goodell said that he stands by the decision to take the Saints’ second-round pick — and stands by all of the other decisions he made — for the simple reason that he still believes the Saints ran a bounty program for three years, in violation of NFL rules.
“The reason we’re not returning any of the draft choices or reversing any of the discipline is because it occurred,” Goodell said.
But if that’s the case, why did Goodell say 10 months ago that he would consider a change to the discipline to let the Saints keep their second-round pick? According to Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune, Goodell clarified after the press conference that the only modification he was considering was to allow the Saints to keep their second-round pick if it turned out to be more valuable than expected.
In other words, if the Saints had the worst record in football, and their second-round pick was No. 33 overall, Goodell might have considered giving them that pick back and taking their third-round pick instead.
Goodell also said at his press conference that he stands by everything he did — disciplining the Saints, their coaches and their players — for the bounty program. Goodell is not a popular man in New Orleans this week, but he’s not backing down from the decisions that made him unpopular.