The NFL’s evidence against the suspended New Orleans Saints coaches, players and former players included emails that Sean Payton’s close friend and confidant, Mike Ornstein, sent from prison, offering up bounties for hits.
Yet according to multiple sources familiar with the situation, Ornstein insisted his emails were jokes, and he unsuccessfully attempted to convince NFL commissioner Roger Goodell of this during their conversations.
Ornstein received support from former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who now is suspended indefinitely.
According to two sources who have seen it, Ornstein gave the NFL and the NFL Players Association a text that he said came from Williams, saying, “I stood up for you & told them just that. I told them we never took that (stuff) serious. I never ever saw you ever give $ and that’s just the truth.”
The text is expected to be used as evidence Monday, when the suspended players appeal their case to Goodell at the league’s offices in New York.
Williams could not be reached to confirm that he sent the text, but the NFL, NFLPA and lawyers each have gotten a copy of it, and two people who saw it said he did.