New Orleans Saints violated NFL's `Bounty Rule'

NEW YORK (AP) - The NFL says that New Orleans Saints players maintained a bounty program over the last three seasons that targeted opponents with the intent to injure them.

The league disclosed the findings of an investigation Friday, saying between 22 and 27 defensive players and at least one assistant coach were involved.

No punishments have been handed out yet, but they could include suspensions and fines. Commissioner Roger Goodell says he is troubled because the system "involved not just payments for `performance,' but also for injuring opposing players.

The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity." The league's investigation shows the pool for the bounty program may have surpassed $50,000 at its height during the 2009 playoffs.

New Orleans won the Super Bowl that season.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)