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?

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Since: Jul 22, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:20 pm

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

That's inaccurate, he paid them to INJURE other players!
NOT "hit them harder", they specifically paid bounties to players for purposely injuring opponents.
I'm all for big hits and playing football tough but you cross the line when you pay your players to injure the opposition. 

Since: Jul 22, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:18 pm

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

It was such a "bad mistake" that he made that same mistake over and over again at various coaching stops along his career.
He's only saying this now because he got caught!
His disingenuousness on the subject is so glaringly obvious and he's saying what he has to say because he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, had he not been caught he'd be doing the same thing this upcoming season. 

Since: May 27, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:08 pm

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Ban him from the league.

Since: Dec 5, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:05 pm

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Only reason he apologised is because he got caught,to truly make jim sorry,rub him out for 12 months along with anyone else involved.Its the 21st century people come on catch up!

Since: Feb 26, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2012 8:59 pm

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Saints should lost to 1st round Picks...Now the Hit on Steve Smith Makes sense

Since: Nov 5, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 8:49 pm

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Wah. It's football. He didn't tell them to do anything illegal, just hit them harder. Big deal.

Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2012 8:04 pm

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

gargoyle18,  your kidding right, you can argue that individual players use the edge of playing angry to highten their ability in the NFL or College football.  And one could argue, that what happens on the field between players can create the problems,  and that just might be happening in suhs case,  hes already a great player with strength and energy, which i am sure gets other Offensive players with the same abilities playing to prove themselves, then stuff happens, (holding/grabbing/spitting/cheap shots).   But in the case of Williams and Payton,( wether other teams condone this or not), either promoted this by bounty or in Paytons case may have turned a blind eye to it, completly different.  Coaches should motivate their players to play hard,  but never promote a player or players to go out and injure someone.   Your examples are B.S.,  if they individual player was not encouraged to take such action, then yes he is responsible for his actions, but he is playing the game of football and dealing with the emotions and violence each play.  The coaches should not promote the violence with bounties of their own!!!!!!!

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2012 7:41 pm

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Gregg Williams and Jonathan Vilma are the 2 biggest POS's in the league.  I hope they both meet their career endings soon.

Since: May 10, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 6:57 pm

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Three easy words for Goodell to use: Banned for Life.

This POS put lives in danger for this program. 1) The players being hit for nonsense and 2) His own players for hitting hard when not needed risking their own injuries, paralization or even death (thank GOD that non of things happened). I have ZERO respect for that no matter who the person is or what the program is. Absolute waste of a man. My .02.....SH

Since: Mar 2, 2012
Posted on: March 2, 2012 6:54 pm

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Before everyone gets their panties in a bunch please recall and remember though Williams paid for "killer hits" there are plenty of NON-SAINT PLAYERS who do this EVERY WEEK on DIFFERENT TEAMS ex Harrison (PITT), D. Suh (DET), R. Clark (OPPS 2nd player from PITT), Merriweather (CHI, Balt, NE), ETC, ETC, ETC. Look at THIS YEAR'S Superbowl and you SAW TWO (YES TWO) Teams "Cheating" like there is no tomorrow. (NYG To many men on the field MIN TWICE and let's not forget the NON-PASS INTERFERANCE CALL on MANNINGHAM's Catch, which was one OF MANNY not to mention the additional bumps after the play by NE). How about  keeping the fine on players for safety reason, but also eliminate DRAFT PICKS on a scale. Say our good friend Suh steps on another player well as the first offense the Detroit Lions forfeit their 7th round pick the following year + Suh's fine. Then if Suh OR ANY OTHER Lion then commits a "rough" penality as judged by the NFL league office the 7th becomes a 6th and so on. Whether to challenge or pay a player the object is to attack the offensive player. Why is it that DEFENSES WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS as the saying goes!  

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