Not only did former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams run a three-year money-for-injuries program in Nola, he reportedly did so with some of his other former teams as well. If you're a NFL fan, you've checked Wikipedia at least twice this weekend just to make good and sure Williams never coached your team.
The Jaguars and Titans are believed to be in the clear, but not the Redskins. And now Coy Wire, most recently a member of the Atlanta Falcons for three years, tells the Buffalo News on the record that Williams ran a similar scheme way up there in Buffalo, though players may have been rewarded with whale blubber instead of cash for injuring opponents. Because it's cold, you see.
Wire, who should be applauded for speaking publicly:
Williams was the Bills' head coach from 2001 through 2003. Wire joined the team in 2002 and said an environment of "malicious intent" was in place when he arrived.
"That's real," Wire said by phone from Atlanta. "That happened in Buffalo."
"There were rewards. There never was a point where cash was handed out in front of the team. But surely, you were going to be rewarded. When somebody made a big hit that hurt an opponent, it was commended and encouraged."
As Wire points out -- and former teammate Eddie Robinson misunderstands elsewhere in the Buffalo News article -- it's the malicious intent that matters in this story, not the under-the-table cash for big plays. Teammates congratulating each other with money for touchdowns and blocks is harmless fun. Coaches handing out blood money isn't.