NFL Teams Paid Bounties to Injure Opponents

Gregg Williams apologizes; ran systems for Saints, Redskins

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 2, 2012 6:00 PM CST

(Newser) – NFL coach Gregg Williams is known for his tough defenses, and now we know one of his secrets: He paid his players extra if they injured an opposing player. After the league announced today that about 25 members of the New Orleans Saints took part in such a bounty program the last three seasons, Williams fessed up that he was the coach responsible. "I am truly sorry," he said. The program was a "terrible mistake and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it." (The New Orleans Times-Picayune has the league statement here.)

Williams worked as defense coordinator for the Washington Redskins before taking the same job with the Saints, which prompted the Post to look into whether he ran the same kind of program there. Answer: Yep. “If you took the star player out, he’d hook you up a little bit," says one former player. (Another defends Williams, and says the practice was meant not to injure but to encourage "good, hard football.") Bleacher Report has background on recent allegations that surfaced against Saints players. Williams is now defensive coordinator with the St. Louis Rams.

In this 2010 file photo, Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams looks on during a game.
In this 2010 file photo, Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams looks on during a game.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
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The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,’ but also for injuring opposing players. - NFL commissioner Roger Goodell

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