SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The NFL says that New Orleans Saints players maintained a bounty program over the last three seasons that targeted opponents with the intent to injure them.

“I thought that that culture was gone,” John Madden told the KCBS morning crew. “I think where New Orleans is in trouble here is that the league knew about it and investigated it three years ago. (The Saints) denied it, and then they kept doing it.”

Madden said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will take action.

“He’s going to be very harsh,” Madden said. “We’ve been preaching so much safety and trying to change that part of the culture, and then the fact that they knew about it and they talked to them about it and they denied it, and the general manager was told if that’s still going on stop it, and they didn’t… There are all those things that are going to make it a pretty big hit against the Saints.”

Madden said the focus on safety could lead to further rules changes.

“Whatever the discipline may be, I think there are some opportunities here to take some things out of football that have been there, where you just can’t get all of those free hits on the quarterback after he throws the ball.”(7:55)

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.

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