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Brett Favre calls Saints bounty charges 'just hearsay'

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
Favre taking a hit during a September 2010 game against the Saints. (US Presswire)

Despite the NFL's official line that Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma put a $10,000 bounty on then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre during the January 2010 NFC Championship Game, Favre says the allegations are "just hearsay."

The former quarterback, who played 20 seasons, told ESPN's Mike Tirico (via ProFootballTalk): "In all honesty, I'm pretty indifferent [about the supposed bounty]. But I'd have to say when they were allowed to play, I thought that was the right move because I don't see enough evidence. I don't think 'Some guy said that this went on' is enough evidence.

"I don't know Jonathan [Vilma] all that well. I think he's a great player," Favre continued. "Seems like a great leader. Seems like the guys who have played with him have a lot of respect for him and Scott Fujita. The other guys, I really don't know. I felt like that's the right thing to do. Otherwise, I think it's just hearsay.”

This line of thinking is nothing new for Favre, who echoed similar sentiments in March shortly after the NFL revealed the details of its bounty scandal investigation.

"I'm not pissed," he said at the time of the alleged $10,000 bounty. "It's football. I don't think anything less of those guys. I would have loved to play with Vilma. Hell of a player. I've got a lot of respect for [former Saints defensive coordinator] Gregg Williams. He's a great coach. I'm not going to make a big deal about it. In all honesty, there's a bounty of some kind on you on every play. Now, in that [NFC Championship] game there were some plays that, I don't want to say were odd, but I'd throw the ball and, whack, on every play. Hand it off, whack. Over and over. Some were so blatant. I hand the ball to Percy Harvin early and got drilled right in the chin. They flagged that one at least.

Favre and Sharper during pregame in '10. (AP)

"I've always been friends with [former Saints, Vikings and Packers safety] Darren Sharper, and he came in a couple times and popped me hard," Favre continued. "I remember saying, 'What the hell you doing, Sharp?' I felt there should have been more calls against the Saints. I thought some of their guys should have been fined more.''

Unfortunately for Vilma, how Favre feels about all this won't matter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who is in the process of determining whether Vilma's year-long suspension for his role in the bounty scandal will be upheld.

A three-member appeals panel ruled just before the regular season that Vilma and the three other suspended players -- Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith -- were eligible to play immediately. But the stay is temporary; Goodell is expected to re-issue new punishments for all four players in the coming days.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the Pick-6 Podcast on iTunes. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.

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