The results of the NFL’s probe into a “bounty” system instituted by the Saints has permeated throughout the league and, one by one, players are talking.
The distinction for many remains the line between motivational, bonding-type payouts for big hits or splash plays and rewards for premeditated intent to cause injury. Within the rules, even in retaliation, football is about hitting. But the term “bounty” brings with it an uncomfortable connotation.
NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp, a veteran of 13 NFL seasons and a member of two all-decade teams who many remember for a violent hit that nearly ended the career of Packers lineman Chad Clifton, draws the same line at intent to target.
“There’s a big difference between a ‘bounty’ — that means putting a price on someone’s head to be taken out of a football game — and gas money. I don’t have any problem with gas money,” Sapp said on “NFL Total Access” on Monday. “Because on Saturday night before a game, I’m in a special teams meeting, I’ll tell my L4 and my L5: ‘A tackle inside the 20, that’s $200. You get him inside the 15, I’ll give you $400.’ That’s gas money.
“But a bounty, to maliciously go out and target someone to take them out of a football game? Never. Not in 13 years. If you walked into my room and said this to me and my defense, I would ask you to leave.”
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