Saints Hit Hard for "Bounty" Program

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NEW YORK (AP) -- The people closely connected to the Saints' "bounty" program are paying a steep price.

The NFL has suspended head coach Sean Payton without pay for the entire 2012 season. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis has been hit with an eight-game suspension and assistant coach Joe Vitt has to sit out the first six games of the 2012 season.

Williams is the architect of the scheme that paid out thousands of dollars to players for hits that knocked an opponent out of a game, in direct violation of league rules. He was hired as defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams this offseason.

Commissioner Roger Goodell (guh-DEHL') will review Williams' status after the upcoming season and consider whether he can return to the league.

In addition, the Saints are being fined $500,000 and will forfeit second-round draft picks this year and next.

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