National Football League officials followed up a meeting with former New England video assistant Matt Walsh earlier this week with a continued investigation into the Patriots videotaping procedures prior to the 2002 Super Bowl.
NFL security officials re-interviewed former Patriots defensive assistant Brian Daboll on Wednesday, while former St. Louis Rams head coach Mike Martz spoke with Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Walsh was interviewed by Goodell and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) in two seperate meetings on Tuesday. He told both that he had conversations with Daboll about what he saw at the Rams' walk-through practice on the eve of the 2002 Super Bowl that was won by New England.
"Our security department re-interviewed Brian Daboll on Wednesday and he has no recollection of a conversation with Matt Walsh about the Rams' walk-through practice," said Greg Aiello, the NFL's senior vice president of media relations, in a statement released on Thursday.
"Even if such a conversation occurred, it would not be a violation of NFL rules. Matt Walsh was authorized to be in the stadium to perform his job duties along with other members of the Patriots' video department, members of the Rams' video department, and other people preparing for the Super Bowl.
"Mr. Walsh told the commissioner that he was wearing Patriots' attire at the time and did not conduct himself in a clandestine manner. He said that he saw Rams employees while he was there and also was on the sidelines. He stated clearly to the commissioner that nobody from the Patriots requested or directed him to observe or report on the Rams' walk-through."
Specter held a three-hour meeting with Walsh in Washington on Tuesday, calling for an independent investigation of the New England Patriots' videotaping of opposing coaches' signals. He said Walsh detailed how the Patriots used videotaped signals to their advantage, and "took elaborate steps to conceal their filming" of opponents' signals.
According to a floor statement by Specter that was released on Wednesday, "Walsh said Daboll asked him specific questions about the Rams offense and Walsh told Daboll about (Marshall) Faulk's lining up as a kick returner. Walsh also told Daboll about Rams running backs 'lining up in the flat.' Walsh said Daboll then drew diagrams of the formations Walsh had described."
Martz, currently the offensive coordinator in San Francisco, refuted many of the alleged facts in a statement released through the 49ers on Thursday.
"I was very satisfied with the NFL's efforts to investigate the situation with Matt Walsh as it related to Super Bowl XXXVI," Martz said. "I'm very confident that there was no impropriety. I believed Bill Belichick when he said there wasn't and I took that at face value.
"Let me make this clear -– we lost to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl because we turned the ball over three times. If there was anything obtained from our walk-through from a casual observer that happened to be present, then that was just part of those walk-throughs and that environment. What I've said all along and what my only concerns were if A) If the walk-through was filmed or B) If it was purposely scouted for information. If so, then that is an issue that the league needs to pursue. I'm very satisfied that this was not the situation in this instance whatsoever."
Martz took particular issue with Walsh's claim that he was on the sidelines during the walk-through, dressed in Patriots clothing.
"I was stunned at Matt Walsh's allegation that he was on the sideline in New England Patriots apparel during our walk-through," said Martz. "I find that insulting, disturbing and a slap in the face to both our team security and NFL security, who both do outstanding jobs. I promise you that if he was on the sideline, he was not in New England Patriots apparel because he would have been identified.
"This whole issue is based on statements made by Matt Walsh, and I think we have to understand that."
Goodell essentially declared an end to the scandal after Tuesday's 3 1/2-hour meeting in New York with Walsh, who the commissioner said offered no new significant revelations about the team's videotaping procedures that has threatened to taint the Patriots' three Super Bowl titles. According to Goodell, Walsh said he did not tape the walk-through and had no knowledge that any other Patriots employees did so.
The revelation that no new evidence existed prompted the Boston Herald to apologize for an erroneous story published on Feb. 2 that cited unidentified sources and claimed the Patriots videotapped the walk-through.