Vilma Lawsuit Identifies Possible Bounty Whistleblower

The young man photographed up above is Mike Cerullo.

Cerullo served as a defensive assistant coach during the New Orleans Saints 2009 Super Bowl run.  The success of that season did not prevent trouble from arising, as Cerullo and the Saints organization would experience a little turbulence within their relationship.  This lead Cerullo being issued a cubic zirconia Super Bowl ring over an authentic piece.

When the bounty scandal first broke, rumors immediately began circulating that a former disgruntled Saints employee was likely the source of the NFL’s evidence against the Saints.  While reports state that former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams himself cooperated with the investigation, corroborated its findings, and provided the league with additional details on the bounty scheme, we were left to wonder who may have initially tipped off the league’s front office on this matter.

Jonathan Vilma’s second bounty related lawsuit may have put an end to all the questions.  Vilma identifies his former coach, Mike Cerullo, as the initial bounty scandal whistleblower.

Vilma’s latest complaint throws some serious allegations in the face of both Cerullo and the investigators of the bounty case.  ProFootballTalk has more.

Though it’s been widely rumored that former Saints defensive assistant Mike Cerullo is the person who resurrected the bounty probe by reaching out to the league office in 2011, Vilma’s civil complaint makes it clear that Vilma believes Cerullo created the present mess.

At paragraph 106, Vilma alleges that Cerullo “pledged revenge against the Saints,” and particularly against assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt.

At paragraphs 107 and 108, Vilma alleges that the NFL “relied principally upon Cerullo’s statements” during the bounty investigation, and that the disciplinary decisions were based on the results of “multiple interviews” of Cerullo.

At paragraph 109, Vilma claims that Cerullo “retracted his previous claims” during an April 2012 communication with Goodell.

At paragraph 124, Vilma alleges that Cerullo created the notes regarding the persons who pledged money to the Brett Favre bounty “well after the 2009 NFC Championship Game and in an effort to gain revenge against the Saints for terminating his employment.”

If these allegations can be proven, the NFL’s case against the Saints is not as strong as it appears and all the sanctions handed down should be probably be reversed.  However, reporters have stated that the NFL relied on the words of numerous individuals, including the ring leader himself.

Any evidence Cerullo provided is more than likely just one piece of the NFL’s puzzle.  Vilma would likely have to do much more than discredit the word of one individual to prove that the allegations in the bounty scandal are in fact untrue.

ProFootballTalk: Vilma suit outs Mike Cerullo as bounty whistleblower


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