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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The Hit That Knocked Kurt Warner Into Retirement Sure Looks Different Knowing The Saints Got Paid To Injure Him

An NFL investigation that lasted two whole years has come to fruition, with the league announcing that the Saints defense had a bounty program over the last three seasons. The pool was orchestrated by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and reportedly rewarded players as much as $1500 for a "knockout" of an opposing player—and possibly even more for injuring specific players like Kurt Warner and Brett Favre.


In January 2010, during the Saints' championship season, Warner was knocked silly by Bobby McCray after an interception in the divisional round. He later tried to return to the game, but departed again in the fourth quarter. He would announce his retirement that offseason. A week later, Brett Favre was temporarily knocked out of the conference championship—McCray again, going for Favre's knees. (Update: McCray's fine for his hits on Favre cost him more than he might have made from any bounty.)

The bounty pool reportedly reached as high as $50,000 during that Super Bowl season, and both coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis were aware of the program, and did nothing to investigate or stop it. The matter of specific discipline is now in Roger Goodell's hands. Considering how hard the NFL is cracking down on injuries and dirty play, expect the Patriots' penalty for Spygate to look like a slap on the wrist by comparison.

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