He also posted, “I got my own bounty on the Saints defense I want to kill them every year.”
The Falcons have a bitter rivalry with the Saints that dates to the 1960s, when they entered the league a year apart as expansion teams. They have long been in the same division, facing each other twice a season. When one of White’s Twitter followers asked if he knew how much the Saints might’ve paid to knock him out of a game, he replied, “At least a million dollars.”
Merriman, a three-time Pro Bowler, claims he was intentionally injured in 2007 while with the San Diego Chargers. in retaliation for hitting Tennessee quarterback Vince Young after a handoff. Merriman hasn’t been the same dominating player since the knee injury.
“Why is this a big deal now? Bounties been going on forever,” Merriman tweeted.
Former Saints defense coordinator Gregg Williams apologized and admitted overseeing the sordid program, which involved between 22 and 27 defensive players and, according to the NFL, was carried out with the knowledge of head coach Sean Payton.
“It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it,” said Williams, who is now defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams.
Bowen, who played strong safety in the NFL for seven years, said Williams had a similar bounty system during his tenure with the Washington Redskins.
“Prices were set on Saturday nights in the team hotel,” Bowen wrote in the Tribune. “In a makeshift meeting room, with the whisper of evening traffic pouring in from the Beltway, we laid our bounties on opposing players. We targeted big names, our sights set on taking them out of the game.”
From Bowen’s perspective, it was the price of doing business.
“It’s a fundamental part of the NFL’s culture that isn’t talked about outside of team facilities,” he wrote. “I’m not saying it’s right. Or ethical. But the NFL isn’t little league football with neighborhood dads playing head coach. This is the business of winning. If that means stepping over some line, you do it.”
This isn’t the first time the bounty business has surfaced in the NFL.
In 1989, then-Dallas coach Jimmy Johnson claimed that his Philadelphia counterpart, Buddy Ryan, took out a bounty on two Cowboys players. The game became known as the “Bounty Bowl.”
Ryan’s son, Rex, now coaches the New York Jets and said he has never ordered his players to take someone out.
“I’ve never condoned it and I’ve never coached it,” he said in a statement.