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Specter and Goodell to meet

Email|Print| Text size + By Christopher L. Gasper
Globe Staff / February 12, 2008

The Patriots' loss in Super Bowl XLII hasn't diminished Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter's interest in the NFL's investigation into the team's illegal taping of defensive signals. Specter is scheduled to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Wednesday, 10 days after the Patriots were upset, 17-14, by the New York Giants, to discuss the NFL's handling of "Spygate."

According to NFL officials, the meeting will take place Wednesday morning in the senator's office.

A New York Times story that ran two days prior to the Super Bowl revealed that Specter, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, wanted to talk to Goodell about why the commissioner authorized the destruction of the videotapes the league seized from the Patriots during its investigation, which stemmed from New England's 38-14 win over the New York Jets Sept. 9.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 and the organization was docked $250,000 and stripped of its first-round pick in April's draft for the taping. Specter, who wrote two letters to the league about the tapes, compared Goodell's decision to the CIA destroying interrogation tapes and said that Goodell could be called before the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain his actions.

The NFL came under more scrutiny the day before the game, when the Boston Herald, citing an anonymous source, reported that the Patriots had taped the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough practice prior to Super Bowl XXXVI. New England won that game, 20-17, in a monumental upset similar to its loss this month to the Giants.

Also, former Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh hinted that he had evidence that could prove potentially damaging to the team.

Goodell has defended the NFL's actions in the Spygate investigation, citing the leak of one of the tapes to Fox Sports, and saying their destruction was one way to certify that the Patriots had turned over all of the evidence he had requested. He also said that the NFL looked into the allegations that the Patriots taped the Super Bowl XXXVI walkthrough and found no credible information to support them.

Receiver gets pass

According to an NFL source, the Patriots have informed wide receiver Kelley Washington that they don't plan to pick up the $4 million option bonus he was due as part of the five-year deal he signed last offseason. However, the team has expressed interest in bringing him back with a reworked deal. Washington didn't catch a pass last season, but he was one of the Patriots' top special teams players and recorded their first blocked punt since 1999 in a 20-10 win over the Jets Dec. 16. He received a $300,000 signing bonus last year, a $106,720 workout bonus, and made $600,000 in base salary. Under the terms of the five-year contract he signed last offseason, Washington is slated to make $900,000 in base salary in 2008 if the Patriots pick up the $4 million option bonus, triggering the remainder of the contract, which could have a total value of $22 million, factoring in escalators and $7 million in not-likely-to-be-earned incentives, over five years. If the Patriots don't pay out the option bonus and the sides don't reach an accord on another deal, Washington would become a free agent. The Patriots have a similar decision to make on Dont Stallworth, who has an $8 million option bonus payment due . . . The contract signed by linebacker T.J. Slaughter is a one-year package for the minimum $730,000. There is no signing bonus, which qualifies the deal for the veteran minimum benefit and means Slaughter's salary cap charge is $451,720.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report; Mike Reiss of the Globe staff contributed.

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