NFL shows bounty evidence
The NFL went public Monday with some of its evidence against the four players suspended for their roles in the New Orleans Saints bounty program. Among the things the league revealed: a prize of $35,000 or more for knocking Brett Favre out of the NFC Championship game in January 2010.
The league also showed a computer slide it got from the Saints, dating from before a playoff game against Seattle the following season, showing photos of three Seahawks with “Now it’s time to do our job. Collect bounty $$$!. No apologies. Let’s go hunting’’ printed on it.
NFL lead counsel Jeff Pash showed reporters the material at the end of a day when the suspended players - Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove, Scott Fujita, and Jonathan Vilma - each attended appeals hearings with Commissioner Roger Goodell at NFL headquarters.
One document showed linebacker Vilma offering “two five-stacks,’’ or $10,000, to knock out Favre in the title game, which the Saints won, leading to their Super Bowl victory over Indianapolis in February 2010.
Vilma left his session after about an hour Monday morning. When that hearing was adjourned until early afternoon, both Vilma and attorney Peter Ginsberg vowed he would not return. He didn’t.
“Roger Goodell has taken three months to tear down what I built over eight years. It’s tough to swallow. I have been linked to a bounty and it simply is not true,’’ said Vilma, who is suing Goodell for defamation. “I don’t know how I can get a fair process when he is the judge, jury and executioner. You’re assuming it will be fair, but it’s not.’’
Tomlinson makes it official
Joined by his family and several former teammates, LaDainian Tomlinson ended his brilliant 11-year NFL career the same way he started it - with the San Diego Chargers. Tomlinson signed a one-day contract with the Chargers Monday and then announced his retirement . . . R.C. Owens, a longtime 49ers front office man and eight-year NFL wide receiver whose impressive leaping ability earned him the nickname “Alley Oop’’ and helped popularize the phrase, died Sunday in Manteca, Calif. He was 78.