Walsh, NFL still haven't worked out deal for Spygate testimony

Updated: April 1, 2008, 8:17 AM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Former New England Patriots videographer Matt Walsh has yet to work out a deal with the NFL in order for the league to hear if he has additional evidence involving Spygate.

Walsh and his attorney, Michael Levy, remain in talks with the league. They have discussed certain immunities and other legally protective considerations since February, but commissioner Roger Goodell isn't certain when or if he will be able to hear Walsh's testimony.

"Do you know lawyers?" Goodell responded Monday at the owners meeting in response to the first Matt Walsh question. "We are making progress, I think. I'm a little frustrated, as you can see. Matt Walsh is free to speak to anybody, but he has asked for some considerations. We have met with over 50 people and he's the only one that had indicated that he has conditions. We are trying to respect that."

Walsh, through his attorney, has said he may have additional evidence of taping by the Patriots. Such evidence could open a new investigation of the Patriots, who lost a 2008 first-round draft choices and were levied a $250,000 fine for videotaping coaching signals during games. Coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Walsh never signed a confidentiality clause when he left the team in 2003. Kraft, speaking to reporters in the hallway of The Breakers hotel, believes Spygate should be over.

"I think we've covered the subject," Kraft said. "We broke a rule the first week of the season. We were penalized very heavily, and look what happened after that game. To me, that says more than anything. Players work very hard and coaches work very hard, and I think they accomplished something remarkable. I think everything stands on its own after that."

The Patriots went 16-0 during the regular season but lost in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. Kraft is disturbed Spygate remains in the news.

"I told you, a newspaper made a damaging allegation about the so-called Matt Walsh affair," Kraft said, referring to a Boston Herald report that the Patriots taped the Rams' walk-through before their Super Bowl matchup. "I believe it's something that never happened. If so, why wouldn't -- two months later -- anything come out? But we live in a society where people can make any kind of allegation. It has to be substantiated. I know how hard our people worked to accomplish what they did this year. We've truly put that behind us and have moved on to other things. I think the results speak for themselves."

Goodell and Kraft each reiterated they want to hear Walsh's testimony.

"I am very anxious to meet with him," Goodell said. "He has indicated or implied through the media that he may have information that I'm not aware of. If he has either a tape or information that would be helpful, I would be eager to get it."

Spygate isn't going anywhere, and the commissioner realizes that. Integrity is the big theme of this owners meeting. Goodell is putting in mechanisms to better police the sport. He wants teams to sign documents each season that they didn't spy. He is pushing for spot checks in coaches' boxes and on the field.

Goodell believe he owes that to the public.

"I believe that the public understands that we responded very aggressively to the Patriots issue," Goodell said. "We were the ones to discover it, disclose it and discipline it with unprecedented discipline. To date, all the discussion and all the other rhetoric have been on rumors. We've known Coach Belichick has done that [spying on signals] through his career. From my standpoint, I think these steps are necessary.

"We recognize there has been a great deal of discussion about this. There is a questioning of our integrity. I believe strongly in the integrity of our game and I know our clubs do, too," he said.

In the meantime, the lawyers are trying to work out the Walsh testimony.

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer