Ledger entries for Bills game raise new questions about alleged Saints bounty program

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By all appearances, the NFL finally has released evidence of the bounty program in New Orleans.  Not directly, of course, but by leaking it to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports.

That said, the evidence given to Cole raises more questions than it answers.

Cole explains that the ledger maintained by the Saints identifies three separate $1,000 payments for supposed “cart-offs” during a game against the Buffalo Bills.  But Cole doesn’t mention the players from the Bills who were injured.

Presumably, they were players from the Bills’ offense, right?

That’s not the case.

The Associated Press reported that four Bills were injured in the game.  Three of them were members of the Buffalo defense:  cornerback Leodis McKelvin, safety Donte Whitner, and safety Bryan Scott.  On offense, left tackle Demetress (then Demetrius) Bell suffered a knee injury.

McKelvin suffered a broken leg, and he was placed on injured reserve.  (It’s not entirely clear based on Cole’s report whether the notation in the ledger reflecting the placement of a player on injured reserve comes from the Buffalo game.)

So how were three $1,000 awards made for cart-offs when only one offensive player from the Bills was injured?

There are several explanations.  The most likely is that the ledger isn’t accurate, and thus not entirely reliable.  The least likely is that the ledger is fabricated, and thus completely unreliable.

Another possibility is that the money wasn’t paid based on the infliction of an injury, but on something like a big hit.

But what if the ledger is evidence that the bounty program crossed the lines of offense and defense, paying offensive players who inflicted injury on opposing defensive players?  If there truly was a bounty program, it’s possible that the defense maintained the bounty program, and that the defense would decide to periodically kick some cash to offensive players who exhibited the mindset that the defense was cultivating.  (It’s also possible that the injuries occurred during special-teams plays; either way, it shows that the program extended beyond the defense, if the information is true.)

The NFL never has claimed that offensive players were paid.  But if the ledger is accurate, it’s possible that’s the only explanation.

And if that’s the case, Drew Brees will most definitely need an explanation.

UPDATE 11:56 p.m. ET:  The answer, as it turns out, is that it wasn’t the Bills at all.  Cole’s report has been revised to explain that the three $1,000 prizes were given not for the September game against the Bills but for a November game against the Panthers.

47 responses to “Ledger entries for Bills game raise new questions about alleged Saints bounty program

  1. Or it could just be that bounties were paid out team-wide but was run by the defensive coordinator and defensive players hence the attention paid to the Defense.

  2. And this is the Commissioner’s problem. Rather than full disclosure, at least to the accused players, the league office “leaks” information about this ledger to the media. Talking about dirty hits…the league office should be fined a few million for blind side and underhanded blows.

  3. I notice that the NFL charges against the Saints and the suspensions have never mentioned anything involving offensive players. So any possible explanations for self-serving, one-sided leaks from the NFL offices are worth less than the Roger Goodell’s reputation.

    Since no one has seen the supposed “ledger,” we could spend the next six month speculating as to the meaning of something which may or may not even exist, but I personally have better things to do.

  4. So bogus entries that clearly make no logical sense point to a ledger that is “inaccurate”. But its unlikely to be fabricated?? How does that make any logical sense?

  5. The details of the ledgers could easily be getting mixed up by those reporting it, considering it came from sources that aren’t identified and briefly saw it.
    Hard for people to be patient, but it will be a while before actual details are known and straightened out.

  6. “There are several explanations. The most likely is that the ledger isn’t accurate, and thus not entirely reliable. The least likely is that the ledger is fabricated, and thus completely unreliable.”

    It depends on the source of the ledger. If it came from Mike Cerullo, the disgruntled former employee that is alleged to be the snitch/whistleblower, then I wouldn’t be surprised if it was at least partially, if not entirely, fabricated. Many Saints players have owned up that there was a pay for performance system, so it’s not out of the question that a something was kept to keep track of who got what and how much cash was in the pot. But it’s also not out of the question that someone could have doctored it a bit after the fact to make it look worse.

  7. Trouble trouble trouble! If the offense was involved then Drew Brees owes us an explanation!

  8. That really makes no sense. Whitner hurt his thumb making a tackle. More likely the $1000 entries are for other defensive plays or hits.

  9. Let’s look at the players. Old articles say that Whitner broke his thumb, McKelvin broke his leg (but it is unclear how that happened), Demetrius Bell was injured in the Tennessee game the week prior, and Bryan Scott played beyond the Saints game (until he got concussed in the Patriots game). I’m not the smartest guy in the room, but how are these cartoffs? Furthermore, they are not even on offense.

    How is this ‘evidence’ related to Vilma? It is most likely the ledger was fabricated by the ‘source’ or by Goodell. Now the NFL is just speculating on evidence. It’s kind of embarrassing actually. While you Goodell defenders will say that punishment meted out by him is not subject to inquiry, isn’t that what America was founded against?

    Let’s see evidence that isn’t so questionable.

  10. Any chance those guys were hurt playing special teams and not on offense?

  11. Chris Carter says he encouraged *wink* his offensive team mates to watch his back. Would it be a shocker if the Saint’s O were in on it too? What difference does it make which side of the line you’re on? If the defense is willing to target the offense, why wouldn’t the offense use similar tactics? Is there some unwritten “gentlemen’s agreement” that states only the defense call lay players out and the offense cannot retaliate?

  12. McKelvin had an ankle injury going into the Saints game and was not returning kicks…

  13. Give it up Saint Fans. Let it go. Suspensions are warranted and should have been more Harsh. The League Rules were violated and people punished. Every player in the NFL knows this is against the rules. Players and NFLPA collectively bargained that the Commish has the power to make these decisions deal with it.

  14. Roger Goodell could crap in a pot, stamp it as evidence and a majority of you tards would say “SEE SEE SEE”

  15. Actually let me correct my self Mckenzie was carted off.

    But I think it was a pulled groin

  16. And one more dumb question, why wasn’t this shown to the NFLPA?

    Who Greg Aielo stated was shown the evidence. Was this not easy thing to show, that didn’t reveal any “sources”?

  17. Isn’t it possible that “cart offs” could have resulted in a player having to be helped off the field, yet not being injured enough to land on an injury report? Maybe some players were helped off the field, but came back later in the game. That may still have qualified as a cart off.

  18. How do Saints players cause a Bills player to pull their groin? The broken thumb happened when the Bill was wrapping up a Saint in a tackle. The ledger is already starting to smell.

  19. Anyone else think the strangest thing about this was teh fact that someone changed thir name from Demetrius to Demetress?

  20. I would bet it proves pay for performance, and any note about injuries are just written by GW next to a “big hit” payment.

    Again, why would this have not been shown to the NFLPA?

  21. This is splitting hairs. You have quotes from the players in essence acknowledging the bounty system. Clamoring for the release of all evidence directly conflicts with your earlier opinion and multiple statements that the individuals who came forward and exposed this need to be protected. You simply cannot have it both ways, also this isn’t a court of law. Common sense can prevail, we know they did it, punishment was doled out, the sources were protected and it probably wont happen again. What other outcome would you want?

  22. I’ve got to hand it to the conspiracy theorists, they’re an imaginative bunch. We’ve got a rogue commissioner with a vendetta against the Saints. He gets a defensive coordinator to fabricate an apology; gets the same coordinator to accept an indefinite suspension; gets the GM and head coach to apologize for something they didn’t do; gets the owner to fork over half a million; plants a filmmaker in the Saints locker room to act as his mole; doctors up a ledger book and claims it’s evidence of a bounty program. All because the commissioner is on a power trip and has it out for the Saints.

    Seems perfectly logical.

  23. Look…I don’t care what side of the fence you are on…whether you believe everything the NFL has said or are skeptical….I’m sick of people pointing to Jason Coles article as “look!!! you asked for evidence and there it is!” Doesn’t matter what you believe, an article that states “sources say….” is NOT evidence. When you can link the article that has the ledger and that ledger proves everything the NFL says…then you can state that…Saints fans can be delusional and I am a saints fans Fyi; however, that does not mean stating the obvious like jason coles article isn’t evidence suddenly becomes false because “i’m a homer”….NFL claimed to not want to release evidence to protect sources yet this ledger doesn’t need that protection so why wasn’t it released in the first place and why is it even now still “sources say…” and not Here it is

  24. Alright Saints fans…get those excuses AND those bags ready for the 2012 season.

  25. “How do Saints players cause a Bills player to pull their groin?”


    They kick him in the nuts and call it a “groin” injury

  26. How about anyone proven to be involved in the bounty program gets a lifetime ban from the NFL. Bet it’ll be the last time players or coaches will partake in that type of dirty crap.

  27. To be clearer Parrish returned kicks and punts. However I think he only got his hand on one punt, the rest were downed.

  28. The Jason Cole article says: “In a game against the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 8, 2009, there were three $1,000 awards. (A source initially said the three $1,000 awards were given in Buffalo on Sept. 27, 2009, but that source and another source later corrected that report.)”

    So all the speculation about which Bills were carted off is moot, the three cart offs were from a different game.

  29. “Again, why would this have not been shown to the NFLPA?”
    It will be. By the way Fujita is a NFLPA rep.

  30. mcjon — Payton and the other coaches were told to keep quiet or their suspensions would be lengthened.

  31. All of the public uproar was based on Goodells original claims that the Saints were getting paid to intentionally injure other players. That is turning out to be not true at all. Perhaps there were verbal jokes about a pool for hard LEGAL hits, because the so called ledger deducted money for penalties. Goodell knew this was common for all teams and needed to single out one that he could severely punish as a message. That’s why he chose to make it sound worse by claiming the Saints were intentionally trying to injure players which is not true. Goodell’s evil plan didn’t figure on Vilma’s bold court challenge.

  32. The NFL is behind all of this mess this is why commissioner Roger Goodell was holding out on showing evidences because there were no evidences giving them time to create some evidences. It’s hard to trap the NFL because everyone is taking sides with the NFL but reading the articles yes some of it don’t make sense. Because it been made up something true will line up a lie you can’t line it up I believe its all false. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell don’t want to be looking dumb because this may cost him his job a computer can do anything. Any smart man want do illegal paper work on a computer so this means someone else did this paper work. Like I said the NFL knows what going on one thing I know the righteous always win justice going to be revealed.

  33. It appears the story may have been changed after it was noted here that only 1 offensive player for the Bills was injured. Now it appears that the only injury reported in the Carolina game was to a linebacker. To me, the NFL comes off looking more and more amateurish. They don’t even leak well.

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