Important distinction in Cris Carter 'bounty'

By now, you've probably heard that former Minnesota Vikings receiver Cris Carter said Tuesday on ESPN Radio that he put bounties on other NFL players during his career to protect himself from injury. Carter told "Hill and Schlereth" that, for example, he paid some Vikings teammates to protect him from linebacker Bill Romanowski in a game against the Denver Broncos because Romanowski told him before the game he would end his career.

Carter referred to the bounty as putting "a little change on his head." He added: "Listen, on the football field you only got certain protection and your teammates are part of that protection. It's built in and if I'm playing a certain position where I can't protect myself -- how can the quarterback protect himself? But for his teammates to stand up and do something."

A lot of the interview, which can be found on this podcast, reflects Carter's usual bluster and rhetoric. But to me the serious upshot is that Carter's idea of a bounty, which he said was commonplace during his career, isn't the same thing as what the NFL claims the New Orleans Saints did under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

"It wasn't to maim or hurt the dude," Carter said. "When a guy said he was going to hurt me, my recourse was to put a bounty on him to make sure."

Maybe it's semantics, but paying an offensive lineman to give Romanowski an extra shove is a lot different than, say, offering money to knock a starting quarterback out of a playoff game. Carry on.