Payton twice apologized for his role in the bounty program, saying he takes "full responsibility" for a system that operated for three years under his watch.
The NFL has said as many as 27 players also could be sanctioned for their role in the scandal, but it is not yet clear when that might happen, creating additional uncertainty for New Orleans and some teams that have signed former Saints defensive regulars as they tried to build their 2012 rosters.
DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, told the website Pro Player Insiders that the league hasn't turned over what the union would consider direct evidence of player involvement in a 'pay to injure' scheme.
"If there is direct evidence of a 'pay to injure' scheme implicating players or anybody involved," Smith said, "we are asking the league to turn over that information."
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