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Archive for Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Goodell: Spygate matter closed

NFL commissioner meets with ex-Pats video assistant

Former New England Patriots videotape operator Matt Walsh, left, arrives at NFL headquarters for a meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell. Walsh and Goodell talked Tuesday in New York.

Former New England Patriots videotape operator Matt Walsh, left, arrives at NFL headquarters for a meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell. Walsh and Goodell talked Tuesday in New York.

May 14, 2008

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— Former Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh disclosed no new rules violations in the Spygate scandal during his meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or in the tapes that the league released Tuesday.

The clips, shown after Walsh's nearly 31â2-hour meeting with Goodell, cut between shots of opposing coaches sending in signals and the play that followed.

"The fundamental information that Matt provided was consistent with what we disciplined the Patriots for last fall," said Goodell, who didn't anticipate punishing the team any further.

The most scandalous part of the tapes shown before Goodell's news conference had nothing to do with stealing signals - it was several minutes of close-ups of San Diego Chargers cheerleaders in 2002.

Walsh did not comment after leaving the NFL offices. He next headed to Washington for a meeting with Sen. Arlen Specter, arriving at 2 p.m. for that session. Specter, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been critical of the NFL's handling of the investigation.

Specter postponed his news conference to today after his meeting with Walsh ran long.

The Spygate investigation began after the NFL confiscated tapes from a Patriots employee who recorded the New York Jets' defensive signals from the sideline during the 2007 opener. New England coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000, while the team was fined $250,000 and forced to forfeit its 2008 first-round draft choice.

Asked if he considered the matter closed, Goodell said, "As I stand before you today, and having met with Matt Walsh and more than 50 other people, I don't know where else I would turn."

Walsh had no knowledge of anybody with the Patriots taping the Rams' final walkthrough leading up to the 2002 Super Bowl, Goodell said. The Boston Herald reported in February that an unidentified employee illegally recorded the walkthrough before New England, a two-touchdown underdog, upset St. Louis, 20-17.

"For the past three-and-a-half months, we have been defending ourselves against assumptions made based on an unsubstantiated report rather than on facts or evidence," the Patriots said in a statement.

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