Saints' head coach suspended for season by NFL

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL has suspended New Orleans head coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team's bounty program that targeted opposing players.

Commissioner Roger Goodell will review Williams' status after the upcoming season and consider whether he can return to the league.

Also Wednesday, Goodell suspended Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of 2012, and assistant coach Joe Vitt has to sit out the first six games.

In addition, the Saints are being fined $500,000 and forfeit second-round draft picks this year and in 2013.

The investigation began in 2010 after allegations were made that Saints players had gone after players, including Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner and Vikings quarterback Brett Favre.

Warner was injured in an NFC divisional playoff game by defensive end Bobby McCray after an interception when the Saints player blindsided him on a block. Favre, meanwhile, was injured when he was tackled in a high-low manner in the third quarter of the NFC championship game.

Prior to Super Bowl XLIV, Williams told a Nashville radio station that he preferred his players deliver “remember me” shots.

Williams came to New Orleans in 2009 to revamp a defense that many believed had become too soft. His heavy blitzing style was lauded that season as it helped the Saints’ defense become one of the best at taking the ball away.

After his contract expired this offseason, Williams took a job with the St. Louis Rams and friend Jeff Fisher, ending his tenure with the Saints.