The Chicago Bears may have fallen victim to the New Orleans Saints’ bounty hunters when the teams squared off in the Superdome last September. News broke on Friday about the Saints and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams offering bounties for injuring opponents.
The investigation concluded players regularly contributed cash into a pool and received payments for accomplishments including “cart-offs,” meaning the opposing player was carted off the field, and “knockouts,” meaning the opposing player was not able to return to the game.
The league said the program paid players $1,500 for a knockout and $1,000 for a cart-off, with payouts doubling or tripling during the playoffs. Vilma reportedly offered $10,000 to anyone who could knock out then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC championship game.
OK, so who could blame them for trying to knock out Favre. I heard Jen Sterger kicked into that bounty. Former Saints DC Gregg Williams issued a statement, apologizing for the incident:
“I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. (Tom) Benson (owner of the Saints), and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the ‘pay for performance’ program while I was with the Saints. It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.”
This is a pattern of behavior from Willaims, whose Redskin team also reportedly had a bonus system. The league, playing up their player safety efforts of late, is expected to drop the hammer on New Orleans. I’ve heard loss of draft picks and lengthy suspensions are expected.
In their Week 2 matchup vs the Saints, Earl Bennett was knocked out of the game with a chest injury that kept him out for 5 weeks while Jay Cutler was mauled late in the game, going down 6 times. If you hadn’t known any better, Mike Martz and his stupid 7 step drops may have gotten a cut from the bounty pool.