Brady Poppinga is heading to free agency on Tuesday and if he can’t return to the St. Louis Rams after shredding Gregg Williams in an interview with FoxSports.com, so be it.
Poppinga ripped into Williams, the new defensive coordinator for the Rams, for the bounty system that has captured the focus of the NFL in the last week.
“I just can't sit there and be silent,” Poppinga told Alex Marvez. “I look at this as an opportunity to share with the public that we, as football players, are not barbaric and out to try and destroy everything in our path. Football is my profession and I take it seriously. It's an art form. It's technical, strategic and takes a lot of intelligence to play.
"When this came out, it started to confirm the idea that football guys are idiots. That's not who we are. Ninety-five percent of the guys are very intelligent. It's just guys who love to go out and play a physical game."
Poppinga said it’s common knowledge there are other systems in place where players pay other players for big plays. But not to intentionally injured opponents.
“I've heard of other situations where there wasn't a bounty for hurting a guy, but guys throwing in $500 to all of the defense if they held a guy like (Minnesota running back) Adrian Peterson to less than 100 yards,” Poppinga said. “But it was nothing like where there was actual programming for that and you talk about (injuring opponents).”
If his candid view of the situation means he will not be returning to the Rams, Poppinga is fine with that. It will be interesting to see what kind of fallout from the bounty program in New Orleans there is as the NFL continues to determine what type of punishment will be handed down.
“If they're not going to want me on the team because of that, that's fine,” Poppinga said.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune