ESPN's Outside The Lines television program reports the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana was told Friday that New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis had an electronic device in his Superdome suite that had been secretly re-wired to enable him to eavesdrop on visiting coaching staffs for nearly three NFL seasons.
Sources familiar with Saints game-day operations told "Outside the Lines" that Loomis, who faces an eight-game suspension from the NFL for his role in the recent bounty scandal, had the ability to secretly listen for most of the 2002 season and all of the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
"This is 1,000 percent false. This is 1,000 percent inaccurate," Loomis said on the ESPN program Monday in response to the eavesdropping allegations.
Loomis stayed on the offensive in regards to defending himself in the matter with a more in-depth explanation to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, a regular confidant of both Loomis and suspended Saints head coach Sean Payton. Glazer released the following Loomis quote via Twitter:
Just got an email from Mickey Loomis: "This report on ESPN is absolutely false. I have a monitor in front of me in my booth that provides the league issued stats for the game. I have a small tv with the network broadcast and I have an earpiece to listen to the WWL-AM radio (flagship broadcaster) game broadcast.
To think I am sitting in there listening and actually and or doing something with the offensive and defensive play calls of the opposing teams makes this story and the unnamed sources that provided the false information that much more less credible…it just didn’t happen."
ESPN says their investigation has not determined if the system was ever used. The NFL had no knowledge of the allegations before the report was released.
Further insight from Saints employees defending Loomis via Fox Sports includes statements from former All-Pro defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy and college scouting director Rick Reiprish. Kennedy, a paid team adviser, says he has worn the earpiece monitored by Loomis during games in the time period of the alleged signal interception and heard only WWL Radio broadcasts of the team's games in it. Reiprish, who stayed in the same booth as Loomis during the 2004 campaign, said the claims are "laughable."
"This report is 100 percent false. Completely inaccurate. We asked ESPN to provide us evidence to support their allegations and they refused. The team and Mickey are seeking all legal recourse regarding these false allegations," said Greg Bensel, the Saints Vice President of Communications, to WWL-TV in response to the report.
The head coach of the Saints at the time, current Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, also jumped to the defense of Loomis through the Associated Press.
"At no time during my tenure as head coach with the New Orleans Saints did Mickey and I discuss monitoring opposing team coaches communication, nor did I have any knowledge of this," said Haslett, who led New Orleans from 2000-05. "To my knowledge this concept was never discussed or utilized."
“There’s something missing here. I don’t know what kind of competitive advantage you could get," noted former NFL GM Bill Polian, now an ESPN employee. "Mickey would have to know the verbiage of every other opposing team in order to translate, and then he would have to do it instantly and find some way to communicate with his coaching staff, and get it down to the field in time to be useful. That would be very difficult to do, in my opinion.”
Loomis, who first came into the organization in 2000 under then-GM Randy Mueller, has been the Saints' general manager since 2002.
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