As the football-following world continues to wait for the league office to levy discipline against the Saints players involved in the three-year bounty system, the story that has had more than a few twists and turns now has yet another.
Per multiple league sources, NFL director of investigations Joe Hummel has submitted a letter of resignation.
The move came Friday, at a time when all eyes were focused on the aftermath of round one of the draft and anticipation for the six rounds to come.
Hummel has been running the Saints bounty investigation. He plans to remain on the job until the end of May. It’s unclear whether he’ll continue to work on the bounty case, or when he last had an active role in the investigation.
Speculation obviously will arise regarding any potential connection between the resignation and the bounty probe, especially since the process of implementing discipline on the players has been delayed without any explanation. Discipline was announced against non-players and against the Saints on March 21.
UPDATE 4:00 p.m. ET: The NFL contends that Hummel wasn’t running the bounty investigation, even though his title is “director of investigations.” Regardless, two men primarily if not exclusive were involved in the probe: Hummel and NFL Security chief Jeff Miller. Thus, even if the “director of investigations” somehow was not directing the investigation, Hummel had an integral role in the process. “He has worked extensively on the investigation,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said via email. “He reports to Jeff Miller, who is our chief security officer.”