August 3, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; The NFL Logo is displayed on the goal post padding prior to the Family Night scrimmage at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
While former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former defensive assistant Mike Cerullo won’t be welcomed in New Orleans anytime soon, the NFL is taking a warmer approach to Cerullo’s situation.
Both Williams and Cerullo provided signed declarations about the alleged bounty program the Saints had from 2009-2011, but it was Cerullo who is considered the man who got the ball rolling and provided the league with what could be considered some fairly shaky evidence.
Shaky because both declarations by Williams and Cerullo contradict each other in various ways such as Williams saying that while linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered a bounty only on quarterback Brett Farve, Cerullo says it was both Farve and quarterback Kurt Warner.
Williams also declared that he never handled the pool of money directly while Cerullo stated that Williams in effect did and collected weekly “dues” that was placed into the “kitty”.
The declaration by Williams is being scrutinized by major media and news outlets for the fact that it was obtained not at the beginning of the investigation, but on September 14th which was this past Friday.
Vilma contends that Williams was “bullied” into signing the declaration so he could return to coaching in the NFL. Williams is currently serving an indefinite suspension that Goodell said he will look at again once this season is over and could lend some credibility to Vilma’s claim.
Speaking of credibility, while there have been attacks on Cerullo’s motives(Vilma also claims Cerullo wanted revenge on the team for being fired), the NFL is taking a different and obvious stance in it’s defense of him. The NFL released the following statement concerning Cerullo:
"Mike Cerullo should be commended for coming forward. The information and detail he provided was credible and has since been confirmed in numerous respects both by other witnesses and by supporting documents. It is unfortunate that some have sought to unfairly attack his integrity rather than give attention to the substance of his declaration."
From all appearances, it looks like NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will simply look to reinstate the suspensions for Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove, and Scott Fujita based off the declarations from Williams and Cerullo. A decision is reported to come as early as this week or next week at the latest.