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Brees, Goodell meet about bounty system

Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita and NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith met Monday for several hours with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss the team's bounty program from 2009-11 that resulted in the one-season suspension of head coach Sean Payton and the indefinite suspension of former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

The group also discussed the status of HGH testing, which has yet to be implemented after the players' group expressed reservations last year about how it would be carried out. Brees and Fujita are members of the NFLPA's executive committee; NFLPA president Dominique Foxworth, who retired from the Ravens, was also at the meeting.

Goodell is expected to rule soon on disciplinary measures for a handful of players involved in the bounty program. Brees and other NFLPA executives have questioned the league's investigation into the program and suggest that the NFL didn't have adequate proof that such a system existed.

"We didn't get any meaningful evidence or any meaningful truth or facts," Brees told after the meeting.

The union issued a statement Monday acknowledging it was aware of an audiotape of Williams suggesting that players would be paid for big hits against the 49ers in a 2011 playoff game. But the NFLPA still questioned whether the program actually existed.

"To date, the NFL has not provided the NFLPA with detailed evidence of the existence of such a program," the statement read.

The league contends the Saints ran the bounty program from 2009-11, and that it rewarded players for big hits that injured opponents.

Meanwhile, a group of four former NFL players filing suit against the league in connection with concussions they suffered during their careers cited the Saints' bounty program as evidence the league has glorified big hits in the past.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy refuted that charge.

"The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to do so," he said. "Any allegation that the NFL intentionally sought to mislead players has no merit.''

The Saints were fined $500,000 and had two second-round picks removed. Payton unsuccessfully appealed his suspension for the entire 2012 season. Appeals by assistant head coach Joe Vitt (six-game suspension) and GM Mickey Loomis (eight-game suspension) were also denied.


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