|Joe Gibbs, right, claims not to know that Gregg Williams might have had a bounty program in Washington. (US Presswire)|
We can discuss what Saints coach Sean Payton knew or didn’t know about the bounty brought about by his team and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams -- and the NFL says he knew about it at some point in the investigation process but did nothing to stop it. But former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs can tell you exactly what he knew when he employed Williams.
In three words: Gibbs knew nothing.
That’s what he told the Washington Post in the wake of what could be one of the nastiest scandals in NFL history.
“Just let me say this: I’m not aware of anything like this when I was coaching there,” Gibbs told the Post in a phone interview. “I would never ask a player to hurt another player. Never.”
Williams worked with Gibbs for three years as the Washington defensive coordinator from 2004-07 (that’s in the time frame Tony Dungy brought up Friday when the Redskins might have caused the beginning of Manning’s neck problems). For the record, Williams also took a defense that was ranked 31st in the league the year before he got there and turned it into a top-10 unit.
In his apology, Williams didn’t mention his time with the Redskins, but the team also apparently had a bounty program when Williams was there.
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“But I didn’t,” Gibbs said. “In my life … I wouldn’t ever tell a player to hurt somebody.
“They may say, ‘Well, Joe would know, because everybody else knew.’ But I didn’t know. I’m shocked by this.”
While it is hard to believe, like Payton, Gibbs didn’t know anything about the bounty program, but unless there’s absolute proof that disputes his spoken word, I suppose there’s not much reason not to give him the benefit of the doubt.
In other Williams-bounty-in-Washington news, here’s an interesting piece by Matt Bowen in the Chicago Tribune talking about his time with the Redskins playing for Williams and how the bounty system worked.
“I wanted to be That Guy for him, playing the game with an attitude opposing players absolutely feared,” Bowen writes. “If that meant playing through the whistle or going low on a tackle, I did it.
“I don't regret any part of it. I can't. Williams is the best coach I ever played for in my years in the NFL, a true teacher who developed me as a player. I believed in him. I still do. That will never change.”
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