NEW ORLEANS — While state police and the FBI started a wiretapping probe into the Saints and general manager Mickey Loomis, assistant head coach Joe Vitt called allegations that Loomis had his Superdome booth wired so he could listen to opposing coaches "ludicrous."
"It's absolutely ludicrous. It's impossible," Vitt said Tuesday. "…That's something from Star Wars. When I first heard something about it being a wiretap, I thought they were talking about Sammy "the Bull" Gravano or something. I didn't even know what they were talking about."
Vitt spoke to the media for the first time since being named to serve in head coach Sean Payton's place during Payton's season-long suspension in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation. Vitt will serve a six-game suspension for his role in the scheme from 2009-11, and Loomis will be out for eight games.
The bounty probe is unrelated to the investigation a joint Louisiana state police and FBI task force opened after being made aware of anonymous allegations from an ESPN report that Loomis was able eavesdrop on opposing coaches' radio communications from 2002 to 2004. The ESPN report could not verify the system was used, and on Tuesday Robert Carroll, the audio engineer for the Saints' radio broadcasts, denied the report in an interview with New Orleans station WWL.
In other Saints news:
• Vitt accepted some blame for the bounty scandal, then sought to clear the names of his players. "At no time did any of our players ever cross the white line with the intention of hurting another player," he said. "That being said, I'm serving a six-game suspension for the spoken word, not the clenched fist." Vitt said he was "on board 100 percent" with commissioner Roger Goodell's safety goals.
• Goodell, in an interview with NFL Network's Rich Eisen, said he rejects the notion that players were doing what their coaches told them in the bounty case. "I don't buy that, because the evidence is quite clear that the players embraced this," Goodell said.
GM says LUCK AT TOP: Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, deciding there was no reason to delay the inevitable, confirmed that former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck will be the No. 1 choice Thursday night to kick off the draft.
CONCUSSION SUITS: A group of former Cowboys including Hall of Famers Randy White, Bob Lilly and Rayfield Wright joined other retired players to file the latest concussion-related lawsuit against the NFL. The suit was filed in Houston's federal court and includes 28 former players. A similar suit filed in Philadelphia includes former Browns No. 1 overall picks Tim Couch and Courtney Brown.
CARDINALS: Linebacker Stewart Bradley, who signed a five-year, $25 million deal last year, took a 50 percent pay cut, to $2.5 million, for this season.
REDSKINS: Free agent linebacker Chris Wilson signed to return to the team after two years in the CFL. Also, Houston's Fox TV station reported that kicker Neil Rackers left the Texans to sign with Washington, where he'll compete against Graham Gano of Florida State.
JURISPRUDENCE: The man guilty of stabbing Redskins kick returner Brandon Banks and a friend outside a nightclub in February 2011 will spend three months in jail. Jason Shorter, 25, was sentenced in Superior Court in Washington.