Mike Wise, a columnist for The Washington Post, wrote Sunday that he has spoken with eight former Redskins players who played under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and discovered that the bounty system used during Williams' time with the team was discontinued after Williams left Washington.
Two players said that the Redskins' next defensive coordinator, Greg Blache, did not approve of the system, voiced that sentiment to several players and discontinued the "bounty" program after Williams departed.
Under the "bounty" program, Redskins players allegedly were paid to deliver big hits on opposing players, including "kill shots" that sidelined the opposing player for the rest of the game.
Wise writes that either Phillip Daniels, who admitted to being part of the "bounty" program, or Andre Carter must have received an award after they knocked Peyton Manning down in 2006, a hit that many fear was the beginning of Manning's decline. Zoomed-in replays show that Manning's head snapped back as he was hit by the second Redskins defender. And then-Colts head coach Tony Dungy said that he was certain that the hit Manning sustained against Washington was the start of the neck problems that caused Manning to miss the entire 2011 season.
"That's the year we started cutting back on his throws at practice. I'm not putting two plus two together. I just figure he's getting older and he needs some time off, he's made enough throws," Dungy said. "But now, as I look back on it, there's no doubt in my mind that this was the start of his neck problems."
But as former Redskins DB Matt Bowen expressed in Wise's column, Williams wasn't alone in implementing a "bounty" system.
"It's an ugly tradition," Bowen said. "People are angry about this and I can see why from the outside. But I guarantee Gregg Williams isn't the only one who did this. He's just taking the fall."
Bucky Brooks, a former player who now writes for NFL.com, echoed those sentiments, although he said that the "knockout" shots he was aware of were inflicted with the intent to intimidate, as opposed to an intent to injure.
"The practice is commonplace throughout the league," Brooks writes. "Most of those bonuses were tied to sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles and return touchdowns, but big hits and knockout shots were also included in the payouts."