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
In this 2010 file photo, Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams looks on during a game.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

(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.

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Mar 3, 2012 3:53 PM CST
It was a "terrible mistake and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it." That quote ncapsulates the current wrongheaded belief of what a "mistake" is. If you know what you're doing, it's not a mistake; it's intentional. When you make an error in doing math, that's a mistake. When you think you hear the voice or see the face of one person and act on it when it's really somebody else, that's a mistake. Or misspell a word due to ignorance; again: a mistake. This is not a "mistake." I'm sick of hearing of "mistakes." Just man up and say "Yeah, I intentionally did something bad and I deserve the punishment." Not "It was a mistake." That goes for ALL such "mistakes." It's a weaselly, craven way to try to preserve a good image.
Mar 3, 2012 2:01 PM CST
To be fair, we should just suspend the Saints, the 49ers, the Giants, the Lions, and any team that doesn't play most of their games in Wisconsin for the first six games.
Mar 3, 2012 6:20 AM CST
Brings new meaning to the old saw, "the best defense is a strong offense".