MIAMI (CBSMiami) – New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has denied his role in the bounty program the team ran giving cash rewards for injuring opponents. If Vilma indeed wants to take the issue to court, he may have to answer for another bounty allegation.
Last year, disgraced former UM booster Nevin Shapiro accused Vilma of taking illegal benefits. Part of the benefits included $2,250 in bounties paid by Shapiro for big plays including trying to injure then-Florida State quarterback Chris Rix.
According to the Yahoo! investigation of Shapiro, the former booster paid Vilma roughly $2,250 in bounties. Vilma was allegedly paid $1,000 for a hit and personal foul penalty on Chris Rix in 2002; $250 for a sack in a 2003 victory over Florida; and $1,000 for a hit on Rix in 2004.
Yahoo! said it corroborated Shapiro’s claim of bounty payments with another source.
The NFL suspended Vilma for the season for his role in the bounty system run by former Steelers coach Gregg Williams. The NFL said Vilma offered $10,000 of his own money to any team member who knocked Kurt Warner and Brett Favre out of 2009 playoff games.
If the case goes to court, Vilma might be forced under oath to testify about the Shapiro allegations. The fact that Shapiro’s allegations came out before the bounty program was uncovered by the NFL could give credibility that Shapiro has sought since making his allegations.