Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis issue joint statement

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis, implicated in the bounty program run by the team for the past three seasons because they did nothing to stop defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, have spoken.

Sort of.

Payton and Loomis issued a joint statement through the team this afternoon. In essence they try to take some of the pressure off of Saints owner Tom Benson, who finds his team in the middle of a firestorm.

“We acknowledge that the violations disclosed by the NFL during their investigation of our club happened under our watch. We take full responsibility,” the statement reads. “This has brought undue hardship on Mr. Benson, who had nothing to do with this activity. He has been nothing but supportive and for that we both apologize to him.

“These are serious violations and we understand the negative impact it has had on our game. Both of us have made it clear within our organization that this will never happen again, and make that same promise to the NFL and most importantly to all of our fans.”

The NFL has said that Payton knew Williams had the bounty program in place and that Loomis was told by Benson to discontinue it and did nothing to prevent the system from continuing. The Saints are expected to be seriously punished but that could take a matter of weeks.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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