Former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely for his role in the Saints' bounty program after the NFL concluded that he'd offered players financial rewards in exchange for injuring opposing players. Not surprisingly, Williams had apparently done this before. Per David Elfin:
It was the Wednesday before Washington opened the 2006 "Monday Night Football" season against visiting Minnesota and former Redskins quarterback Brad Johnson. Assistant head coach/defense Gregg Williams knew about the bad blood between Redskins owner Dan Snyder and Johnson and decided to do something about it in the defensive meeting room.
"Gregg came in and dropped $15,000 on the (table) and said, 'Brad Johnson doesn't finish this game. This is Wednesday and the money will go up later in the week. It could double or triple by the end of the week,'" one of the players recalled. "A couple of guys kinda got excited. (Defensive line coach) Greg Blache said, 'If you get fined, it will be taken care of.'
Elfin's story has a lot of details, supplied by anonymous players, that aren't hard to believe in light of the practices of which Williams and others have been found guilty in New Orleans. And it strikes at the issue that this bounty thing has gone on for some time in several different locations before the Saints got caught for their wide-reaching violations.
It also points out, with the help of one of those anonymous players, that it's pretty hard to knock an opposing player out of a game even if that's what you're trying to do. Johnson finished the game in question, just as Vikings quarterback Brett Favre finished the NFC Championship Game three years ago in spite of the Saints' best efforts.
The upshot of this isn't much other than more damage to Williams' already-shredded reputation. The NFL investigated Williams' time in Washington as part of its investigation of the Saints, and in announcing the discipline earlier this week against Williams and the Saints it also announced that it had found no reason to discipline other teams for the same kind of stuff. The release said the league reserves the right to impose discipline if new evidence comes to light, but it's hard to imagine this story constitutes anything the league couldn't have already learned about Williams' time in Washington. It's also pretty tame in comparison to what appears to have gone on in New Orleans.
Doesn't make it any less interesting, of course. I just don't want Redskins fans to start worrying that their team might be about to get fined or lose draft picks for anything that happened when Williams was there, because it's not. The only thing the NFL is angry at the Redskins about is all the money they spent against a phantom salary cap in 2010.