Former New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams admitted his role and apologized for his involvement in what the NFL is calling a "bounty program." The league said Williams and players offered financial incentives for injuring players from other teams and knocking them out of games over the past three years.
"I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, (Saints owner) Mr. (Tom) Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the 'pay for performance' program while I was with the Saints," Williams, now defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams, said in a statement. "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."
If you think Williams' apology is going to get the Saints off the hook, think again. This one looks really bad and we're only in the very early stages.
Look back at the allegations the NFL spelled out in announcing that commissioner Roger Goodell will be reviewing the facts and possibly handing out discipline. The NFL is usually very guarded and vague when first discussing this kind of thing.
In this case, it’s just the opposite. The league names names and dollar amounts. There’s a whole lot of detail here, including the league saying general manager Mickey Loomis was told to stop the program and did not. The league also says coach Sean Payton was aware of the program and did nothing to stop it.
The fact the league already is saying discipline could include fines, suspensions and the possible loss of draft picks isn’t a very positive sign for the Saints. In fact, it’s a sign that there probably will be some very heavy penalties.