NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 26: Running back Michael Turner #33 of the Atlanta Falcons runs the ball against outside linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar #56 of the New Orleans Saints in the first half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The New Orleans Saints bounty scandal continues to touch the St. Louis Rams. The indefinite suspension of Gregg Williams for his role in the pay for performance program left the Rams without a defensive coordinator. Now, one of the team's players is popping up in reports of the cash payments being handed out by the Saints.
Mike Silver of Yahoo Sports reported late on Wednesday that linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar was one of the players who received a cash payment for a so-called "whack" hit in last season's playoff win against the Detroit Lions. League sources said that Dunbar will not be punished for the extra legal cash payment.
Dunbar and safety Roman Harper received the payments during the infamous speech from Williams the night before the Saints' playoff game against the 49ers, the "Kill The Head" speech contained in the audio tape released by filmmaker Sean Pamphilon.
NFLPA sources, and later Jonathan Vilma on Twitter, claimed that the payments were made for legal, but tough plays. The hits were not bounty plays, said the sources, nor a hit that injured players.
That league sources said Dubar and Harper were unlikely to be punished would seem to further indicate that the hits they were paid for were not bounties.
Silver's story was a follow up to a previous report that the NFL possess a ledger documenting the Saints' pay for performance system, including bounties. That leak was surrounded with some questions as early reports about which game was cited in the leak proved to be wrong.
For the Rams, it's another minor distraction. Dunbar may yet get dragged further into this mess if the case gets any further. Right now, however, it looks as though the league, who won an appeal in front of Special Master Stephen Burbank, is coming out on top.