THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Goodell: No new information from Walsh

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Mike Reiss
Globe Staff / May 13, 2008

NEW YORK -- Former Patriots employee Matt Walsh met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for more than three hours this morning, with Goodell saying that no new information was revealed regarding the Patriots' videotaping procedures.

Goodell indicated that the information Walsh provided was consistent with what the league had known, and that there was no filming of the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough prior to Super Bowl XXXVI. Goodell said that he doesn't envision any more penalties being levied against the Patriots.

Asked if the story of the Patriots' videotaping procedures is now dead, he said: "Having met with Matt Walsh and 50 other people, I don't know where else I would turn."

Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter, one of the league's most vocal critics regarding its handling of the Patriots videotaping investigation, might have something to say about that. He met with Walsh and his lawyer, Michael Levy, for three hours today in Washington, D.C. Specter has scheduled a press conference for Wednesday at noon.

In New York, where Walsh and Goodell met at 7:30 a.m. and league officials later showed media members footage from the Patriots' tapes of opposing signals, Goodell explained Walsh's unusual presence at the Rams' walkthrough. Walsh was wearing Patriots gear at the time, which Goodell described as an indication it was not an "overt attack."

Goodell said Walsh and other members of the team's video department were setting up their operation to use the following day. Because of some late game operations changes by the NFL, members of the Patriots' video department remained at the Louisiana Superdome during the Rams' practice to finalize their setup.

One thing is certain: They weren't filming.

"We were able to verify that there was no Rams walkthrough tape. No one asked him to tape the walkthrough. He's not aware of anybody else who may have taped the walkthrough. He had not seen such a tape. He does not know of anybody who says there is a tape," Goodell said.

The news reinforced what the Patriots had said the day the Boston Herald report was published Feb. 2.

"For the past 3 1/2 months, we have been defending ourselves against assumptions made based on an unsubstantiated report rather than on facts or evidence," the team said in a written statement. "Despite our adamant denials, the report ran on February 2, 2008, the day before Super Bowl XLII. That game was the second-most watched program in television history and it is unfortunate that today's news will not also reach an audience of that size.

"We hope that with Matt Walsh's disclosures, everyone will finally believe what we have been saying all along and emphatically stated on the day of the initial report: 'The suggestion that the New England Patriots recorded the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough on the day before Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002 is absolutely false. Any suggestion to the contrary is untrue.' "

NFL outside counsel Gregg Levy acknowledged that Walsh said he spoke with former Patriots assistant coach Brian Daboll about what he saw at the walkthrough, namely that running back Marshall Faulk was lining up as a returner and how the Rams were utilizing their tight ends.

That story, however, was inconsistent with what the NFL had learned in its investigation, which included an interview with Daboll.

Walsh did reveal what Goodell described as "two new pieces of information of note" - allegations that the Patriots were inappropriately allowing a player on injured reserve to practice in the 2001 season, and that Walsh had helped players scalp around 8-12 of their Super Bowl tickets.

Goodell said the league is looking into those allegations, as Walsh provided the name of the player on injured reserve who was alleged to be practicing. Goodell said that if the story is verified, he will include the penalty as part of what the Patriots were fined for in September ($500,000 for coach Bill Belichick, $250,000 for the team).

Part of the tapes shown to the media today included images of opposing coaches giving signs to players before the camera showed the ensuing play. Shots of the scoreboard were also part of the taping procedure, to indicate how much time was left on the clock and what the down-and-distance was on the play.

There were more than just signals on the tapes. In showing parts of the Sept. 29, 2002, tape of San Diego Chargers coaches, up-close shots of cheerleaders were also included. Walsh was not the camera operator of that tape, as he was no longer working in the video department.

The Globe's Christopher L. Gasper contributed to this report from Washington.

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