Lions' Kitna: Packers' 'bounties' no big deal

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Jon Kitna has no problem if Packers defensive players are indeed offering "bounties" to teammates for achieving specific defensive goals.

And Kitna's team, the Detroit Lions, are next on Green Bay's schedule.

"I don't know if it is against the rules; if it is, it shouldn't be," the quarterback said Tuesday. "They're not paying people to go out and hurt somebody. They're just paying people to do their job."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed Monday that league officials are investigating whether Packers players offered such payments to teammates. League rules prohibit teams and players "from offering or accepting bonuses to a player for his or his team's performance against a particular team, a particular opposing player or players, or a particular group of an opposing team."

ESPN reported that Packers players offered to pay the team's defensive linemen $500 each if they were able to hold Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson under 100 yards rushing two weeks ago. They offered another $500 for holding Carolina to under 60 yards rushing as a team on Sunday.

Peterson was held to 45 yards rushing before he left the Vikings' Nov. 11 loss to the Packers with an injury. But the Panthers rushed for 131 yards in Sunday's loss to Green Bay.

Speaking to reporters on a regularly scheduled conference call Tuesday in advance of Thursday's game, Kitna said such incentives were an acceptable and effective way to motivate teammates -- and not much of a big deal.

"If I'm a defensive lineman that's getting paid minimum [salary] to play this game, or a little bit lower salary, and I can earn an extra $500, shoot, you know what? That might inspire me to do more," Kitna said.

This certainly isn't the first time Kitna has heard of such things happening in an NFL locker room.

"I've heard of things in my past where, hey, if there's a tackle inside the 20 on a kickoff or something like that, they will throw $100 into the pot or whatever," Kitna said. "I don't know. It's nothing that I've seen in a long time."

The league's rule against bounties was written mainly to prevent teams or players from rewarding teammates for injuring opposing players, something that has been a league-wide concern in the past.

But while Peterson was injured in the game against the Packers, that didn't appear to be the Packers' goal. After making the tackle that injured Peterson, Packers cornerback Al Harris went out of his way to make sure the rookie running back was OK after the game.

"He said he was OK, and I just told him I'm praying for him," Harris said after the Nov. 11 game.

It was later discovered that Peterson tore the lateral collateral ligament in his knee on the play. He has yet to return for the Vikings.

"You never want to see a guy injured," Harris said after the Vikings game. "You never want to see a guy go down with an injury. He's having such a great year."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday he was not aware of the situation.