Blog Entry

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Posted on: March 2, 2012 6:07 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 7:59 pm
We'll let you decide what Vilma and Williams were discussing here. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Twenty-four hours ago, the biggest problem facing the Saints was that they were roughly $5 million apart per season on a new contract for franchise quarterback Drew Brees. And while that's still a huge issue, it's taken a back seat to the revelations Friday that at least one Saints coach and about two dozen players conspired to intentionally hurt opponents and knock them out of games for money.

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
The coach: former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who served in that capacity under head coach Sean Payton for the 2009-2011 seasons, including New Orleans' Super Bowl title in February 2010. Williams left the Saints for the same job with the Rams in January after St. Louis hired Jeff Fisher (who Williams had worked with in Tennessee).

On Friday, hours after the NFL announced the Saints' "pay for performance" bounty program, Williams spoke on the matter:

“I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the 'pay for performance' program while I was with the Saints," Williams said in a statement released by the Rams.  "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.”

It's nice to own up to your problems, but this doesn't appear to be an isolated incident. Details via Mark Maske of the Washington Post:

"The Washington Redskins had a bounty system for big hits on opponents under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams that was similar to the one revealed by an NFL investigation of the New Orleans Saints, four players who played under Williams said Friday," Maske wrote.

"Three of the players described a coach who doled out thousands of dollars to Redskins defenders who measured up to Williams’s scoring system for rugged play, including 'kill shots' that knocked opposing teams’stars out of a game."

“You got compensated more for a kill shot than you did other hits,” one former player said. Compensation ranged from "hundreds to thousands of dollars" with the biggest payout thought to be $8,000."


Now that Williams has apologized, what happens next? More specifically: does owning up to it before the NFL weighs in lessen the punishment he'll face?

The short answer: who knows. We're not being glib but if commissioner Roger Goodell is anything he's unpredictable. The league has been criticized in the past for coming down hard on players but less so on coaches and front-office types. But early indications are that New Orleans' "pay for performance" bounty program is much worse than Spygate, and the sanctions could reflect that -- especially if Williams has a history of this behavior.

But it's one thing to punish the Saints; what happens if the Rams lose their defensive coordinator for any length of time?

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed

Since: Nov 12, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2012 12:12 pm

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

I know this much that if I was a player who was injured because of this nonsense of  knocking out opposing players that I would take out Gregg Williams the first chance I got in a game. Whether it involves getting a cheap shot in on his knees or legs or someone barrelling over him, it would be sweet revenge. The idea that the league or Saints would allow this is totaly uncalled for. They should fine the Saints for this, throw Williams out of the coaching profession. Or better yet see someone take him out while standing on the sidelines. I knew the guy was a jerk but this shows he's nothing more than a pompous a@@

Since: May 25, 2011
Posted on: March 3, 2012 12:10 pm

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

I'm older than some of you and I remember when in the Original NFL, when players had to have other jobs to pay their bills, bounties were common. Prior to the start of a game, players would put money in a pool to see who could put a key player out of game. In todays game, with Millionaires playing, it seems like a $1500. bounty would be chump change to possibly maime an opposing player. Somehow many in the sportsworld think that players can't play hard, or hit hard, unless the cause an opposing player get carried off the field. The they all stand around and bow thier heads as if they are parying...Some sincerely are. In today's NFL its always the same guys getting fined for cheap shots. The great players of today can knock the $h*t of an oppossing player..LEGALLY. Bounty hunting in Pro Football was always illegal, and nobody is sorry until they get caught. Lets see The Big Commish stand up and do whats right to these coaches and teams.

Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 11:07 am

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

bigbyrd, you truly are a scumbag.  It's astounding that any fan could even possibly try to defend a system that pays players to injure players of other teams. 

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 11:05 am

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Wow... Didn't think the first lesbian defensive coordinator (don't tell me he doesn't look like one) would have it in him!!! Well.. that's the aggressiveness of a bull d*yke I guess!! Money mouth

Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 11:03 am

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

A mistake?  A mistake?  Seriously?  Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a mistake a one-time occurence that is a result of poor judgement?  You don't get to use that word, nor do you get to apologize Williams.  Now get the F out of the NFL you dirty scum-sucking low life.  I hope you are banned forever.

Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: March 3, 2012 11:00 am

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

bigbyrd This is too easy. If you are going to give a challenge, make it a little harder.
I dare anyone to go back and look at film and find a single player the saints D Knocked out of a game and claim he was a target of a bounty.
Game 2 of this season vs. Bears. Earl Bennett is speared by Roman Harper. Bennett has injuries to his internal organs that force him to miss most of the season. Harper collected himself with his D-mates and smiled after the hit. Go look at the film! Also, in that game, though not nearly as blatant, Jay Cutler gets kicked in the throat such that he could hardly speak after the game and first round draft pick and O-lineman Gabe Carimi suffers a knee injury that costs him the remainder of the season. That's one game. I'm sure the fans of other teams can answer your challenge as easily as this Bears fan could.

Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: March 3, 2012 10:53 am

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Gregg Williams has been using this program for years and years. Players are now ratting him out and divulging that he has encouraged the pay to maim approach for a very long time. He can take his appology and stick it up his A$$. "Cart-offs"!!! You are paying for "cart-offs"!!! A guy gets carted off the field and players take a knee. But, Williams is writing a check. Goodell needs to screw this guy and screw him hard. A total ban from the NFL is a great start. Then, Goodell can work his way down through the Saints program and assess fines and suspensions based on accountability. But Williams needs to be afraid. He paid for players to get injured. Now its his turn and his career needs to be carted off!

Since: Dec 21, 2009
Posted on: March 3, 2012 9:57 am

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

I don't know about the rest of you, but I hate this age where someone just apologizes when they get caught with their hand in the cookie jar and they think it's ok.  It's so damed phony it makes me puke.  He's sorry he got caught.

Since: Mar 14, 2011
Posted on: March 3, 2012 8:58 am

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Williams should get fired along with the GM and Coach who knew about it and did nothing.  Who's saying that Williams is mean?? That's not really the point, Cardinal, that Gregg Williams is a meanie.  He offered incentives not just for his players to make a good tackle or a good stop, but to hurt the player.  Call it what you want but it's reprehensible. 
You draw the contrast with flag football.  That's ridiculous to think that there's not a middle ground in this sport between flag football and paying players to try and break bones.  It's part of the game to stop a team, to tackle and bring people to the ground.  It's a physical game but this goes beyond what the game is intended for. 
Roger Goddell needs to make a statement here, because bringing the game to this level of "kill or be killed" is going to seriously harm his product.  The NFL, if left to this kind of conduct, will lose fans fast.  If it becomes a group of 22 HGH-amped players being paid to maim the other then it becomes a cage fight.  They might as well put everyone in an octagon.

Since: Jul 3, 2010
Posted on: March 3, 2012 8:56 am

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Yes, the Williams boy should be banned from the do not need this type of mentality in a "game".

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or