Ryan Jones of the Times-Picayune filed this report from Jonathan Vilma's hearing in Louisiana today, with a pretty decent breakdown of Vilma's presentation and the NFL's cross-examination of him.
I've seen via Twitter feed that the hearing is continuing through the afternoon, but now you can get a grip on what happened this morning.
After the jump are some highlights...
Jonathan Vilma took the stand for more than an hour in his own defense Thursday at a temporary injunction hearing in front of federal judge Ginger Berrigan. Through his testimoney, Vilma sought to establish that neither he nor any other member of the New Orleans Saints took part in a pay-to-injure bounty program and that his career would be harmed irreparably if he is not allowed back to team facilities immediately.
Vilma delved into terms mentioned by the NFL in its investigation of the Saints that had not yet been defined by those on the team, such as "cart-off," "whacks," and "kill the head."
If you're like me, you are dying to read these definitions...(gold, Jerry gold!)
"Kill the head is when the running back is running the ball or any ballcarrier has the ball, once they get tackled, you don't want them to fall forward," Vilma said. "If you fall forward, then they're facing the end zone they're going to. What you do is you tackle them and have him fall sideways, backwards, diagonal, it doesn't matter.
"Mentally, you don't want them, every play, to get confidence that they're going to run forward, fall forward and go the way they want. Kill the heads was us making sure they didn't fall forward. As long as their head wasn't facing the end zone, that was a win for us, psychologically."
Vilma said that "cart-offs" were clean hits that led to a player missing several players after getting the wind knocked out of them, while "whacks" were clean tackles below the waist and knees.
Then there's this little ditty from his testimony:
Vilma said that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told him that during a 2009 playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals, Vilma had $5,000 in each hand and slammed it down on the table, offering it to anyone who could knock Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner out of the game.
When asked by his attornys if Vilma had ever participated in a pay-to-injure program, Vilma said "that is 100 percent false."
And from the NFL's case...
During Vilma's cross-examination, performed by attorneys for the NFL, the league sought to establish that Vilma had an opportunity to inform Goodell what those terms meant and that he did not take advantage of that opportunity.
The NFL's attorneys also compelled testimony from Vilma, which revealed he had suffered a previous knee injury with the New York Jets in 2007 and had spent time away from the team while he was rehabing.
As a segue into the afternoon:
Troy Evans and Randall Gay also took the stand in Vilma's defense. Saints interim Coach Joe Vitt has arrived but has not yet taken the stand. Other Saints players such as Roman Harper, Scott Shanle and Jonathan Casillias are also scheduled to testify.
So, what do you think about all this?
I'll be sure to let you know if there's an evening update about the afternoon's activities...