Josh Freeman: Saints took cheap shots

The New Orleans Saints continue to take hits from every angle for running what the NFL has said was a “bounty program’’ over the past three seasons.

The latest shot comes from Tampa Bay, where Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman said he and his teammates were warned by their former coaches to watch out for cheap shots when playing the Saints the last three years.

“We just knew every time we played the Saints, they were going to take some cheap shots,’’ Freeman told The Tampa Bay Times. "I mean, it was always something we acknowledged. We knew Gregg Williams’ defenses were physical and they were going to get after you. Knowing what we know now, it’s not surprising that was the system that was set up for them.

“It is what it is. I’d just say it’s not surprising.''

During a 2010 game in Tampa Bay, Freeman was hit out of bounds by New Orleans safety Malcolm Jenkins, who was fined $10,000 for an illegal hit. Freeman said he knows many of the New Orleans players and has no personal grudges against them.

He also acknowledged football is a physical game, but he said games with the Saints were different than games with other teams.

"Everybody plays hard, but nobody goes out and tries to hurt each other,'' Freeman said. "You go out to hit people hard, you know, straight up. But we didn’t see whole lot of that other stuff except when we were playing the Saints.''