Carlos Rogers played under Gregg Williams in Washington and the veteran cornerback is doing his best to minimize the bounty program that was in place previously with the Redskins.
Rogers, in an interview with KNBR in San Francisco (according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post), suggested that players created much of the pay days that were in place. He said the whole idea of a bounty was overblown, at least when it came to the Redskins. Rogers played under Williams for four seasons in Washington.
“It wasn’t a bounty system. I’m close to Gregg, and I’m not trying to be biased. He’s one of the coaches I admire and would always love to play for,” Rogers said. “But, it wasn’t a bounty system.”
Rogers said that bounties for knocking players out all started with the players.
“It went on to guys just suggesting stuff in the room: ‘You knock this player out, say you get a receiver, he come across the middle, safety knock him out, legal hit, you get this amount of money,’” he said. “Not intentionally — if you think about it, when you play football, you knock someone out, hit them legally, you get some money. If you hit him wrong, and you get $1,500? You’re getting fined by the league $15,000. So what risk do you want to take? Getting this $1,500 in this defensive room and getting fined $15,000? You’re losing money.”
Rogers said the root of the pay outs was with the players.
“It all started, when you’d be in the (defensive backs) room, just making wagers. Every DB put $100 in the pot. There’d probably be 10 of us in the room, that week, somebody get an interception, they’d get that $1,000. That’s basically what it was. You make a big hit, you put some money in the pot. It wasn’t about all these guys putting money in the pot for you to intentionally hurt somebody.
“What Gregg do, is if you be late, I think it was like $1,900 fine by the league. If you miss a meeting, I think it’s $9,600 or somewhere up in that area. What he’d do, you don’t have to pay that (to the league), you’d pay $2,000 or something, but he’d just keep it in the room, you’d just keep it in the pot, and the guys that do perform, ‘OK, $1,000 if you get an interception. You get an interception return for a touchdown, you get $1,500.’ Stuff like that.”
He believes the entire situation has been overblown because Williams doesn’t preach anything differently than what you hear around the league on a weekly basis.
“We’re sitting here (last January in San Francisco in the playoffs) saying, ‘We need to take Eli out.’ That’s how we were going to win this game, that’s the person that was going to help New York win the game. You don’t think our linemen, linebackers were really trying to hit him?” Rogers said. “Not trying to hurt him as far as end his career. If you really want to hurt him, you’d take a player who normally never plays, and say, ‘If you get a shot on the quarterback, take his knees out.’ Because all they’re going to do is fine him, and you pay his fine for him. If you really want to take somebody out, you can take him out. You’d tell somebody to take his knees out and really end their career and take them out game.
“The ‘bounty’ word people are saying really made things worse. Will guys stop doing it in their rooms? I doubt it. All the hits I’ve seen when they were showing the Saints, I seen good hits. I didn’t see nobody getting stretched off the field. They didn’t show any of that.”
Rogers makes some valid points. Sure, defenders are trying to hit the quarterback as hard as they can on every single down. But when you talk about intentionally trying to harm a player, that’s when a boundary is crossed.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune