Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Gregg Williams
Posted on: March 3, 2012 10:10 pm
 

Did Gregg Williams compensate players in BUF?

One of his former players in Buffalo said Williams encouraged his players to knock out opponents for financial rewards. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

The NFL already has informed its fans that, under Gregg Williams reign as Saints defensive coordinator, he contributed to a bounty pool that helped motivate New Orleans players to try to knock opponents out of games. He’s since apologized and said it was a terrible mistake.

Then, there was a report Saturday that the NFL would investigate the Redskins to determine whether Williams pulled the same shenanigans in Washington when he was the defensive coordinator there under Joe Gibbs from 2004-07 (Gibbs has said he wasn’t aware of a pool, but former player Matt Bowen admitted in a piece for the Chicago Tribune the Redskins had one in place).

Now, the Buffalo News reported Saturday night that, when Williams was the Bills head coach from 2001-03, he rewarded players for injuring opponents and making other important plays.

"There was financial compensation," former safety Coy Wire told the newspaper, along with three other former players who asked not to be named.

And it wasn’t just rewards for knocking out a player to gain a competitive advantage – which obviously is bad enough. No, according to Wire, it was a malicious-type atmosphere.

"There were rewards,” he said. “There never was a point where cash was handed out in front of the team. But surely, you were going to be rewarded. When somebody made a big hit that hurt an opponent, it was commended and encouraged."

And now at this point, Wire can’t believe he ever thought that was the right way to play the game.

"Now, it's unthinkable that was my reality," Wire said. "I shattered (former Lions running back) James Stewart's shoulder, and he never played again. I was showered with praise for that. It's a shame that's how it was. Now I see how wrong that was."

And assuming the NFL investigates these charges and punishes the offenders, Williams also will get the chance to learn just how wrong it was. And at some point maybe we should wonder whether, assuming all of this proves true, whether Williams deserves to continue his coaching career in the NFL.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: March 3, 2012 8:29 pm
 

Rex Ryan says he's never participated in bounty

By Josh Katzowitz

Erase Rex Ryan off the list of coaches who would pay his players to injure opponents.

The Jets coach and the son of Buddy Ryan, the former Eagles coach who supposedly put out a bounty on Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman in 1989, said that’s not something in which he has participated. Nor would he.

"This is something that is being handled by the NFL office," Ryan said in a statement on Saturday, via the New York Daily News. "I’ve never condoned it and I’ve never coached it."

The same apparently can’t be said of current Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who helped run a bounty pool while as the Saints defensive coordinator -- he apologized in a statement on Friday -- and possibly as the Redskins defensive coordinator in the years before that.

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

Posted on: March 3, 2012 2:21 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2012 2:22 pm
 

Report: NFL will investigate 'Skins for bounty

By Josh Katzowitz

Former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs says he didn’t know his defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, might have put together a bounty program in Washington before he did the same thing with the Saints, but it sounds like the NFL now will look into what transpired in Washington during Williams’ time there.

That’s what the Washington Post is reporting, citing an anonymous source who says it is standard for the league to investigate accusations that rules have been broken.

New Orleans' forgettable offseason

At this point, it seems fairly clear that there was a bounty program in Washington, especially if you read former Redskins player Matt Bowen’s piece today in the Chicago Tribune in which he writes:

“That's right. We got paid for big hits, clean hits by the rule book. … Money jumped in the playoffs. A bigger stage equaled more coin. Instead of a few hundred dollars, now you got a thousand, maybe more, depending on the player. That's the truth. I can't sugarcoat this. It was a system we all bought into.”

Gibbs told the Post on Friday, “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.”

With the NFL investigating, we should have a better idea of who know what and when they knew it.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: March 3, 2012 12:17 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2012 12:21 pm
 

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

Williams and Payton are in a heap of trouble. How much, exactly, will be up to Goodell. (Eye on Football Illustration/Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

It's been a busy few days for the New Orleans Saints and for all the wrong reasons. Barely two months removed from quarterback Drew Brees setting the NFL record for passing yards in season, now the organization is faced with trying to re-sign Brees and on Friday, and NFL investigation revealed that former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was complicit in creating a "pay for performance" bounty system that rewarded Saints players for injuring opponents.

Williams, now with the Rams, apologized Friday night saying, in part that, "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.”

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
Except that New Orleans wasn't an isolated incident. At least four former Redskins players said Williams had a similar system in Washington when he was the defensive coordinator under Joe Gibbs. (On Saturday, Gibbs said he had no knowledge of it.)

The NFL, meanwhile, concluded that while current Saints head coach Sean Payton wasn't a direct participant in Williams' bounty program, he "did not make any detailed inquiry or otherwise seek to learn the facts, and failed to stop the bounty program."

So now what?

In reading through the comments, many fans want Williams suspended, some going so far as to suggest a lifetime ban. That seems extreme, but then again, "pay for performance" rewarded players for injuries. That's among the worst charges you can level against a coach or a player -- that they intentionally tried to injure opponents.  Even Steelers linebacker James Harrison, Public Enemy No. 1 when it comes to NFL violence, said in October 2010 that "I don't want to injure anybody. There's a big difference between being hurt and being injured. You get hurt, you shake it off and come back the next series or the next game. I try to hurt people."

In that sense, Williams is worse than Harrison, right? Wherever he lies on the spectrum of dirty tactics, early indications are that Williams won't be forced to miss any games. Details via Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"One league source said Williams might be in line for a large fine but didn't think a suspension would be forthcoming. Then again, the source said, 'This is two strikes against him,' referring to controversial comments Williams made before Super Bowl XLIV (at the end of the 2009 season) about knocking Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning out of the game."

Thomas added: "Another source said the expectations was that Williams' fine would be in six figures — perhaps as much as $250,000 — but that head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis would be penalized more heavily."

Will the sanctions have any lasting effects on the Saints? Who knows. In the wake of Spygate in 2007, the Patriots were fined $250,000, head coach Bill Belichick was fined anther $500,000 and the team lost their 2008 first-round draft pick. They went undefeated during the 2007 regular season but didn't win a playoff game from 2008-2010, and haven't won a Super Bowl since 2005.

While we wait for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to drop the hammer, take a moment to enjoy the mock-up of the movie poster for the inevitable made-for-TV spectacle that's sure to follow. (Yes, it has to be science fiction. And, yes, in case it's not blindingly obvious: this is a joke.)

Early cast list includes Williams as Vader (the hands-on leader), Vilma a Boba Fett (the enforcer), Favre as Jar Jar Binks (because who didn't want to knock Jar Jar out?) and Payton as Jabba (in charge but less interested in details as results). Also, in case you missed it the first time: THIS IS A JOKE. (Eye on Football Illustration)

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
Posted on: March 3, 2012 11:23 am
 

Gibbs says he didn't know about 'Skins bounty

Joe Gibbs, right, claims not to know that Gregg Williams might have had a bounty program in Washington. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

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.

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
And though Gibbs claims not to have known about it, the reports say the program was widely known throughout the organization.

“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.”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: March 2, 2012 8:36 pm
 

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

In this photo from Oct. 22, 2006, Manning loses his helmet after getting hit in a game against the Redskins(Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams apologized Friday evening for his part in the team's "pay for performance" bounty program that rewarded players for injuring opponents. In fact, one NFL source told CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman that linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered up $10,000 to any teammate who knocked then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the game.

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
Freeman says to expect more leaks in the coming hours and days.

(Apparently, Williams had a similar program when he was with the Redskins; a former player told the Washington Post that compensation ranged from "hundreds to thousands of dollars" with the biggest payout thought to be $8,000.")

One story we should expect to hear more about: Peyton Manning. He missed the 2011 season with a chronic neck injury, and he's probably taken his last snap for the Colts. Back in September, Tony Dungy, Manning's former coach who now serves as an NFL analyst for NBC, traced Manning's neck issues to a 2006 game.

The opponent? The Redskins. And the defensive coordinator? Yep, Gregg Williams.

Sports Illustrated's Peter King wrote about Dungy's remarks in his Week 1 Monday Morning Quarterback column:
Dungy had an excellent observation on our ... NFL special on NBC. He said Manning's neck history dates to Oct. 22, 2006, when his neck got wrenched and his helmet ripped off on a hit by two Washington defenders. We showed the highlight on our Saturday show, and Manning, after being hit and crumbling to the ground awkwardly, lay there for a second, and when he rose, he stretched his neck and shook his right arm for a second, as if trying to get the feeling back in it.

"Earlier in the game,'' Dungy told me, "I'm outraged that there was a flag for roughing-the-passer on Dwight Freeney for just grazing the quarterback's helmet. So I'm yelling at the ref [Scott Green], 'Where's the flag! Where's the flag!' And I don't yell much, but I did then. So I didn't notice Peyton calling timeout and being shaken up. Peyton came to the sideline and said to [backup] Jim Sorgi, 'Jim, start warming up.' As the timeout went on, he said to us, 'I can stay in, but we need to run the ball here.' ''
Former Colts president Bill Polian told King that Manning was fine at the end of the 2010 season and had "no recurrence of the neck problems that caused his first surgery after the 2009 season."

In January 2010, a week before the Saints faced the Colts in the Super Bowl, Williams (by then New Orleans' defensive coordinator) was asked about some controversial hits on Brett Favre in the NFC Championship Game.

“Here’s the deal," he said. "When you put too much of that type of worry on a warrior’s mind, he doesn’t play all out. If it happens, it happens. And the only thing you’d like for me to say is that if it happens you hope he doesn’t get back up and play again.”

Williams may have been sincere when he apologized Friday, but the remarks above makes them seem less geniune. More than that, you might think that the only reason Williams is sorry is because he got caught.

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
Posted on: March 2, 2012 6:07 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 7:59 pm
 

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

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."

Wow.

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
Posted on: March 2, 2012 3:30 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 4:10 pm
 

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

According to the NFL, New Orleans coach Sean Payton didn't try to stop the bounty program, while owner Tom Benson, center, did try but ultimately failed.  (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

In a stunning announcement, the NFL has released the news of an investigation into a team-wide bounty program in New Orleans in which at least one coach and about two dozen players conspired to intentionally hurt opponents and knock them out of the game for money.

Between 22 and 27 players, and at least one assistant coach maintained this “pay for performance” bounty program, violating league rules in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

And the knowledge of the program reaches all the way into the owners box. Saints owner Tom Benson -- who was cited by the league as giving his “immediate and full cooperation to investigators” -- told general manager Mickey Loomis to end the program immediately when he became aware of it in 2011. According to the NFL, “the evidence showed that Mr. Loomis did not carry out Mr. Benson’s directions. Similarly, when the initial allegations were discussed with Mr. Loomis in 2010, he denied any knowledge of a bounty program and pledged that he would ensure that no such program was in place. There is no evidence that Mr. Loomis took any effective action to stop these practices.”

According to the NFL, the funds of the bounty pool -- to which players regularly contributed and which was administered by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now with the Rams -- might have reached as high as $50,000 during the 2009 playoffs. If a player knocked out an opponent, they received $1,500. If an opponent had to be taken off on a cart, a player was paid $1,000. Those payouts could double or triple during the playoffs.

“Our investigation began in early 2010 when allegations were first made that Saints players had targeted opposing players, including Kurt Warner of the Cardinals and Brett Favre of the Vikings,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Our security department interviewed numerous players and other individuals. At the time, those interviewed denied that any such program existed and the player that made the allegation retracted his earlier assertions. As a result, the allegations could not be proven. We recently received significant and credible new information and the investigation was re-opened during the latter part of the 2011 season.” 

The NFL also found that coach Sean Payton was not a direct participant in the bounty program but that he didn’t make an attempt to learn about it or stop it when NFL investigators began asking about it.

Now, it’s up to Goodell to dole out the possible punishment. He has told the Saints that he will hold more proceedings and meet with the NFLPA and individual player leaders to discuss the appropriate discipline.

The league notes that “the discipline could include fines and suspensions and, in light of the competitive nature of the violation, forfeiture of draft choices. … Any appeal would be heard and decided by the commissioner.”

Said Goodell: “The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,’ but also for injuring opposing players. The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.

“It is our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of our game, and this type of conduct will not be tolerated. We have made significant progress in changing the culture with respect to player safety and we are not going to relent. We have more work to do and we will do it.”

Here's Benson's statement on the matter: "I have been made aware of the NFL's findings relative to the 'bounty rule' and how it relates to our club. I have offered and the NFL has received our full cooperation in their investigation. While the findings may be troubling, we look forward to putting this behind us and winning more championships in the future for our fans."

For what it's worth, here is one of the last attempts of Warner's career.



For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com