On Friday, Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was exposed for his role in a "pay for performance" program that was operational during his three-year span with the New Orleans Saints, and possibly during his time with the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills as well.
The program offered incentives to players who made big plays, such as fumbles and interceptions, but it also rewarded players who injured members of opposing teams.
The NFL security department claimed in their investigation that players were rewarded $1,000 for forcing an opponent to be carted off the field and $1,500 for knocking them out of the game. Although, the payments increased during playoff games.
Some former players have come to Williams' defense.
It's ridiculous that someone is trying to say that we made bounties on knocking guys out, when basically all it was is that when a guy gets an interception, then he might get paid. That's something that guys do amongst themselves.
That was a quote from former Saints safety Darren Sharper from an interview with NFL.com. Sharper player under Williams in New Orleans from 2009 to 2010 and is currently retired.
Another former safety, Matt Bowen, who player under Williams with the Washington Redskins in 2004 and 2005, also discussed the situation.
Price tags started low during the regular season — a couple hundred bucks for going after the quarterback hard or taking a running back out below the knees. Chop him down and give a quick smile when you got back to the huddle. You just got a bonus.
Bowen was also supportive of Williams by claiming the allegations are not unusual and should be expected.
Bounties, cheap shots, whatever you want to call them, they are a part of this game. It is an ugly tradition that was exposed Friday with Williams front and center from his time coaching the defense in New Orleans. But don't peg this on him alone. You will find it in plenty of NFL cities.
Regardless of the support, Williams realizes that he was in the wrong, as is evident from the apology he issued:
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.
But whether or not he's apologetic, the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell have made safety a top priority over the years, which leaves little empathy for Williams' actions.
The general consensus suggests that a hefty fine is in his future, as well as a possible suspension.
An anonymous source from the NFL has suggested that the league is considering lengthy suspensions for not only Williams, but also Saints head coach Sean Payton and Saints general manager Mickey Loomis.
However, our speculation should be put to rest shortly.
According to NFL.com, the league's security department has requested the presence of Williams in New York on Monday to discuss the situation and possibly determine his fate, although the purpose of the meeting has not been determined.
In the end, Williams will ultimately be hit hard by the league, whether in the form of a fine, a suspension or both.
However, while his future with the St. Louis Rams is still murky, it's likely that he'll resume his role as the team's defensive coordinator at some point.
Between Rams head coach Jeff Fisher (a close friend of Williams) and owner Stan Kroenke, there's surely enough influence to retain the shamed coordinator.
But whether or not he's wanted back...that's another question.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!