NFLPA to do own bounty investigation

FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2010, file photo, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator  Gregg Williams during their NFL football game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, La. Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis have taken
FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2010, file photo, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams during their NFL football game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, La. Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis have taken "full responsibility" for the bounty program run by former assistant coach Gregg Williams. In a statement released Tuesday, March 6, 2012, Payton and Loomis admit violations of league rules "happened under our watch." They also promised it would never happen again. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The NFL Players Association will do its own investigation of the New Orleans Saints' bounty system and is asking the league to help set up interviews with the team's coaches and front-office staff.

In a statement released Wednesday, the union says it will "vigorously protect the rights of all players."

The statement also says that if it turns out players "voluntarily and willingly participated in conduct that jeopardized health and safety," the union will work with the NFL to "prevent this in the future."

There is no mention of possible punishment for players involved.

Saints head coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis, and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams have acknowledged the team had a bounty pool for big hits.