According to a recent poll I conducted, Bleacher Creatures are pretty sure they like Andre Carter.
I don't mean to burst any bubbles, but I do need to pass along some not-so-great news. Carter, who spent time with the Washington Redskins under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, has now been connected to the Bountygate scandal.
Now before we go mobbing down the streets with our pitchforks in hand, let's see if we can unpack any hidden truths here. Just how did Carter get entangled in this mess, and how involved was he?
Let's start with Carter's former teammate, Phillip Daniels, who played with the Redskins from 2004-2010. He was one of four former players to speak with the Washington Post recently about the situation.
Daniels reflected on Williams' pay-for-performance and under-the-table system.
“If you took the star player out, he’d hook you up a little bit," said Daniels.
The most he ever received was $1,500 back in 2005 when he racked up a four-sack game against the division rival Dallas Cowboys. Despite admitting to involvement, Daniels was quick to defend Williams' character.
"I think it is wrong the way they’re trying to paint [Williams]," Daniels told the Washington Post. "He never told us to go out there and break a guy’s neck or break a guy’s leg. It was all in the context of good, hard football."
But another player, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, seemed to see it differently.
“He actually had a saying, ‘If you cut the snake’s head off, the body will die,’ that was his motto,” said the player of Williams. “It was made clear that he was talking about not just running backs who turned their heads the opposite way and how they would go down, but also about other stars on offense that were the best players on that team.”
In fact, it was that exact type of play that may have gotten Carter involved.
Dungy went as far to suggest the play, which saw Manning nearly folded in half by Carter and Daniels, was the cause of the quarterback's current neck fiasco. If you take a look at the play yourself, it's not hard to see why he might have reached that conclusion.
But getting back to Carter, as you can see clearly in the video, he had no control over what Daniels was engaged in. Carter made a clean hit, and should steer clear of any potential involvement.
Back in December, when he was fined $15,000 for a roughing-the-passer penalty on Redskins' quarterback Rex Grossman, Carter expressed his displeasure with any assertion that he plays dirty.
"It's so difficult, because you're trying to play physical and fast," Carter said. "I can't control the fact this player moved a certain way. That's the frustrating part of it."
Carter was flagged for going low on Grossman while engaged with a blocker.
"I've always been a clean player," he said. "The last thing I want to do is take out somebody's knee. I'm just playing football."
I took a look at the rest of the Patriots roster and it appears the players and coaching staff avoided any direct contact with the plague that is Gregg Williams.
Dan Connolly was waived in 2007 by the Jacksonville Jaguars and Williams was hired in 2008.
Rob Ninkovich left the New Orleans Saints in 2008, before Williams started his three-year stint there.
Free agent of interest Brandon Lloyd barely misses Williams' arrival in St. Louis, as the Rams hired him this offseason; we'll see how that works out for them.
I don't envision this situation having any negative effects on Carter's likelihood to return to New England next season, either.
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