A NFL investigation has revealed current St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams instituted a bounty system while he held the same position with the New Orleans Saints. With that news came revelations that Williams also may have instituted a similar bounty system while the defensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins in the mid-2000s. Former NFL defensive back Matt Bowen, who played under Williams for two years in Washington, has penned a column for the Chicago Tribune confirming just such a bounty system existed:
Money came in for more than watching a guy leave the field. We earned extra for interceptions, sacks and forced fumbles. If the till wasn't paid out, we just rolled it over.
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.
I ate it up.
It is a very open and honest article from Bowen, and if you have the time deserves a full read. Much is already being made of what punishment Williams and the Saints should be handed for this offense, and what it may mean for the league as a whole moving forward. It should be noted, though, that Bowen ends his column with what seems to be a common sentiment for those who have actually played and coached in the league: this happens often, and with numerous teams.
Bounties, cheap shots, whatever you want to call them, they are a part of this game. It is an ugly tradition that was exposed Friday with Williams front and center from his time coaching the defense in New Orleans. But don't peg this on him alone. You will find it in plenty of NFL cities.
Stay tuned to SB Nation DC for more on this story. For all your Redskins news and notes, be sure to follow SB Nation's Redskins blog Hogs Haven. And all nuggets from around the league, be sure to visit SB Nation's NFL hub.