They also testified that the pool they were involved in was a pay-for-performance pool that largely rewarded big plays such as forced fumbles, sacks or interceptions, but added that the program also fined players for mental errors or penalties including unnecessary roughness.
Vitt, sometimes pausing with emotion, praised Vilma as one of the finest players he has ever known, and someone as important to New Orleans' defense as record-setting quarterback Drew Brees is to the Saints' offense. Vitt described Vilma as an intelligent, hardworking and unselfish player whose teammates overwhelmingly elected him as defensive captain.
"When these grown men who make a lot of money vote for this man to lead them into critical situations, and make critical calls ... and be there for them in times of need, personally, I think it speaks volumes," Vitt said.
Vilma wants a swift ruling because he is rehabilitating his surgically repaired left knee and said doing so at the Saints' facility is far more productive than doing it on his own. Vitt added that when players rehabilitate injuries at team headquarters, they do so with trainers who have a "personal vested interest" in the player's health.
Despite not getting an immediate temporary restraining order allowing him to rejoin the Saints, Vilma appeared to be in good spirits as he left court.
"In a perfect world, that would have happened, but there's a lot for the judge to go over right now and I'm definitely not going to try to rush her," Vilma said. "I hope she gets it right and I hope it's in my favor."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.