Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and current New Orleans coach Sean Payton are likely to get punished for running an illegal “bounty pool” of up to $50,000 in which defensive players were paid for injuring opponents. Williams, the current defensive coordinator of the Rams, appears to be in the most hot water and these quotes from a Feb. 2010 SI profile won’t help matters:
When he [Williams] met with rookie defenders in the spring for their first on-field session, his message was pointed and succinct: “Knock ‘em the f—- out.” He repeated himself when the veterans arrived and continued to repeat himself during the season.
In a radio interview 12 days before the Super Bowl, Williams made clear how important it would be for the Saints to go after quarterback Peyton Manning and to get to him as early in the play as possible. “When we do get to him,” he added, “we’re going to have to make sure he gets a couple ‘remember me’ shots…. When you put too much of that type of worry on a warrior’s mind, he doesn’t play all out.”
The comment was widely viewed as being reckless and blasphemous. How dare anyone talk about pummeling Manning, the golden boy, the four-time league MVP who comes from the First Family of NFL Quarterbacks. And what kind of sense did it make to provide motivational material for Manning’s mental bulletin board, or to draw the attention of league officials who are maniacal about protecting The Chosen Ones, otherwise known as quarterbacks?
"I don’t know what I should’ve said," says Williams. "Maybe I should have blown him kisses or sent him a Hallmark Valentine’s Day card, but that would not have sent the right message to our defense."