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Saints Sean Payton, Tom Benson met with Roger Goodell Monday

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Benson and Payton hug in happier times. (Getty Images)
Lost in all the shuffle involving Peyton Manning is the fact that the Saints are still very much in trouble with the NFL. It's believed the league wants to mete out punishment for, sigh, BountyGate before the owners meetings in late March.

According to a report from Steve Wyche of NFL.com, Saints owner Tom Benson and Saints head coach Sean Payton are in New York on Monday to meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. According to the AP, Benson and Payton requested the meeting with Goodell.

According to CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, Payton apologized to Goodell and vowed no such thing will ever happen again on his watch, though Freeman doesn't believe it will make much of a difference in the long run regarding Payton's punishment.

Wyche also reports that members of the Saints spent the weekend and that the punishments are "expected sooner rather than later."

Last week, Saints GM Mickey Loomis and Payton issued a joint statement apologizing for the bounty scandal and taking "full responsibility" for what occurred under their watch.

It's believed that fines, draft picks and suspensions are all in play when it comes to punishing the members of the Saints front office who were aware of the bounty scandal. The NFL cited them for "conduct detrimental."

According to Wyche, the status of the investigation is currently "ongoing." It'll be interesting to see how much longer it remains in that category once Benson and Payton are done meeting with Goodell.

The guess here is not long -- the NFL has about 10 days to drop the hammer on the Saints if they want to do so before the owners meetings. But Goodell won't rush things when making his decision, either. This is a big-time issue with big-time punishments and regardless of a preferred timeline, Goodell will make sure he gets this right and sends a proper message.

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