Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 11/30/12
WASHINGTON (AP) Right from the start, the NFL said Gregg Williams was in charge of a pay-for-pain bounty system with the New Orleans Saints. Now the former defensive coordinator - who told the league about others' involvement - is slated to be cross-examined by lawyers for players appealing their suspensions in the case. Friday's session is part of the latest round of player appeals overseen by former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Former Saints assistant coach Mike Cerullo faced questions Thursday, when lawyers for the league and for players spent more than nine hours in a Washington office building. Tagliabue has insisted on keeping the contents of the private hearings under wraps. He and various lawyers attending Thursday's session declined to comment afterward. Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith have said they'd be present Friday to hear what Williams has to say. The players planned to travel to Washington after New Orleans' 23-13 loss to the Falcons at Atlanta on Thursday night. Vilma and Smith - along with two former Saints, free-agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove and Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita - were suspended by the NFL for the Saints' cash-for-hits program that the league says Williams ran from 2009 to 2011. Smith, suspended four games, and Vilma, suspended for the entire current season, have been playing while their appeals are pending. The NFL has described Vilma and Smith as ringleaders of a performance pool designed to knock targeted opponents out of games. The league has sworn statements from Williams and Cerullo saying Vilma offered 10,000 to anyone who knocked quarterback Brett Favre out of the NFC championship game at the end of the 2009 season. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued the initial suspensions, which also included a full-season ban for Saints head coach Sean Payton. Lawsuits brought by Vilma and the NFL Players Association to challenge Goodell's handling of the case, including his decision in October to appoint Tagliabue as the arbitrator for the appeals, are pending in federal court in New Orleans. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan gave the parties until Monday to answer questions about whether the NFL's collective bargaining agreement prevents a commissioner from handing out discipline for legal contact, and whether the CBA's passages about detrimental conduct are "ambiguous, hence unenforceable." In March, the NFL announced that its investigation showed the Saints put together a bounty pool of up to 50,000 to reward game-ending injuries inflicted on opponents. "Knockouts" were worth 1,500 and "cart-offs" 1,000 - with payments doubled or tripled for the playoffs, the league said. According to the league, the pay-for-pain program was administered by Williams, with Payton's knowledge. At the time, Williams apologized for his role, saying: "It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it." Later that month, Payton became the first head coach suspended by the league for any reason - banned for all of this season without pay - and Williams was suspended indefinitely. Williams was known for his aggressive, physical defenses as a coordinator for Tennessee, Washington, Jacksonville and New Orleans, and during his time as head coach of Buffalo. In January, he was hired by St. Louis to lead their defense.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Blake Griffin opts out of contract to become free agent

Report: Wolves targeting Kyle Lowry, Jrue Holiday, other point guards in free agency

Conor McGregor’s coach says tentative plans include a return to UFC in 2017

Report: Mets open for business on the trade market

Markelle Fultz believes the Sixers are already a playoff team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Jimmy Butler’s attitude toward Fred Hoiberg made players ‘uncomfortable’

St. Louis Cardinals to hold first LGBTQ Pride Night

John Mara: Extending Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t team’s No. 1 priority

Mike Trout reportedly wanted to sign ‘lifetime deal’ with Angels

Blackhawks, Blue Jackets swap Artemi Panarin, Brandon Saad

Matt Forte expected to be ‘offensive workhorse’ for Jets?

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

Box Score 6/23: Philly continues to trust the process

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Gary Payton Award for best trash talk of the year

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker