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Saints S Roman Harper: We'd be 5-0 if not for bounty scandal

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Thanks to a sorry Chargers team, the Saints got their first win five weeks into the season. Now, after a bye, New Orleans returns to action Sunday afternoon against the Bucs. There are any number of reasons for the team's slow start, chief among them: the bounty scandal that dominated the offseason and the subsequent suspension of head coach Sean Payton, who can't rejoin the team until 2013.

The Saints currently find themselves 4 1/2 games back of the 6-0 Falcons in the NFC South and dead last in the playoff race. It's reasonable to assume the postseason is already out of the question. Safety Roman Harper said Friday it didn't have to be that way. If not for the bounty scandal distractions, New Orleans would be its usual dominating self.

During an appearance NBC's Pro Football Talk, host Erik Kuselias posed the following question to Harper: “If you have none of this Bountygate in the offseason, if there's no problems, through five games, instead of 1-4, what's your best guess as to what your record would be?”

Harper's response: "5-0."

“Hey, it is what it is,” Harper continued when Kuselias suggested that the league punishment cost the Saints four losses. "It's all right. You know, you can't win ‘em all. And at the end of the day we have to climb out of it from here. And we still have a chance in this division -- that's the crazy thing. No matter how we started the season. I think the last two Super Bowl champs limped into the playoffs at 9-7. All you can ask for is a chance and an opportunity late in January and that's all we ask for."

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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