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Detroit Lions defensive end Lawrence Jackson took a similar stance.

“In every locker room, it’s posted clearly: No exceptions to the rule on bounties for hurting people,” he said at a sports conference in Boston Saturday. “I just don’t believe it’s right, on a human level.”

But another Lions player, tight end Tony Scheffler, conceded that all teams walk an ethical fine line.

“There is a lot of stuff that goes on over the course of the season,” he told the AP. “There might be something that happened in the first meeting between teams and that brings attention to a certain guy, who might’ve cheap-shotted a teammate, and then there’s an opportunity to get back at that guy.

“But as far as coaches putting a bounty on a guy, I’ve never seen it. I have heard of it. The nature of the game is so physical and a lot goes into game preparation each week and those game plans always include getting physical with the best players on the other team.”

Former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann said he’s surprised it took this long for such an ugly, widespread case to be revealed. He knows for sure bounties were put out on him when he played in the 1970s and ‘80s. His career ended on Nov. 18, 1985, when New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor broke Theismann’s leg in a gruesome sack that exposed his broken bone on “Monday Night Football”.

“In a sick way, I guess it’s flattering,” Theismann told the AP. “If you had a bounty on you, you were a pretty good player and they wanted to get rid of you.”

He said bounties are probably not as widespread as they once were, with the league’s increased emphasis on safety.

“It’s a violent game and this is part of the game that I’m sure the NFL doesn’t want fans to know of,” said retired offensive lineman Pete Kendall, who played in the league for 13 seasons. “But it shouldn’t stun anybody who spent any time working in that game.”


AP Pro Football Writers Howard Fendrich in Washington and Barry Wilner in New York, AP Sports Writers Larry Lage in Detroit, Dennis Waszak in New York and Jimmy Golen in Boston, and Alan Sayre in New Orleans contributed to this report.