Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams served a yearlong suspension for his role in Bounty-gate when he was with the New Orleans Saints.
Now three years removed, and back in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams, Williams opened up about the intention behind the bounties, which he insists were not malicious.
“One of the things was it was on my watch, but there was nothing that hasn’t been done in the last 50 years in the sport and there was nothing done to try to hurt somebody,” Williams said on KMOX radio in St. Louis. “[It] was never done with anybody trying to injure somebody.
"I’ve said this before, I take a look at all these high school programs, little league programs, college programs and you see the decals on the side of the helmet and you wonder, you get those decals because you shake hands and kiss after the game or you get those decals because you rushed for 100 and you threw 17 touchdown passes and you knocked the stuffing out of somebody?
“I remember over at Excelsior Springs when I’m 16 years old, I had a big hit in a ballgame and all of a sudden I got a movie certificate and it wasn’t because I helped the guy up, it’s because I knocked the guy down. It’s just one of those things that we’re always trying to find little bitty advantages in sport and it was unfairly and uncharacteristically portrayed the wrong way.”
Williams was incriminated by a recording that was taken during a defensive team meeting prior to the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Williams was recorded saying, "Kill the head and the body will die."
He offered bounties on the heads of 49ers offensive players, including running backs Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter, receivers Kyle Williams and Michael Crabtree, tight end Vernon Davis, and quarterback Alex Smith.
"We've got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore's head," Williams said on the recording. "We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways."
He also wanted to test the concussion status of Williams, and also directed his players to go after the players' ACLs.
"Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head. Early, affect the head. Continue, touch and hit the head."
Photo courtesy Associated Press