Brett Favre said he's happy the New Orleans Saints bounty program allegedly instigated by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been exposed, but he doesn't hold any grudges, according to a report by Sports Illustrated.
An NFL investigation indicated Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma allegedly offered $10,000 to any player who could knock Favre, then the Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks, out of the NFC Championship Game in January 2010. Williams was the Saints' defensive coordinator at the time.
"Now the truth comes out. That's good. But that's football," Favre told Sports Illustrated. "The only thing that really pisses me off about the whole thing is we lost the game. That's the thing about that day that still bothers me. And that's the way it goes. If they wanted me to testify in court about this, they'd be calling the wrong guy.
"It's football. I don't think anything less of those guys, I would have loved to play with Vilma. Hell of a player. I've got a lot of respect for Gregg Williams. He's a great coach. I'm not going to make a big deal about it.
"In all honesty, there's a bounty of some kind on you on every play. Now, in that game there were some plays that, I don't want to say were odd, but I'd throw the ball and whack, on every play. Hand it off, whack. Over and over. Some were so blatant. I hand the ball to Percy Harvin early and got drilled right in the chin. They flagged that one at least."
Favre thinks he suffered a broken ankle on one play in that game in which he was hit high and low.
"I've always been friends with (former Saints safety) Darren Sharper, and he came in a couple times and popped me hard," Favre told SI. "I remember saying, 'What THE hell you doing, Sharp?' I felt there should have been more calls against the Saints. I thought some of their guys should have been fined more."
Meanwhile former Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot defended Williams, reportedly saying Williams did not hand out any financial rewards when he was the Redskins defensive coordinator.
"This was a thing that I think started in training camp as players," Smoot told WJFK-FM in Washington."I think it started with who could get the most interceptions, who could get the biggest hit, or who could get the sacks and we took it into games. Gregg never said, 'Take out this player or take out this player,' but I'm sorry, back when I played football, we actually used to hit people. It was legal to go out and hit people."
"It was more or less we started a pot as a defensive backfield of who could get the most forced fumbles, who could get the most interceptions. It was never a bounty. It was more or less a pot that all of us players put in. Gregg never put in a dime, Gregg never came in and said do this, do this, or do that, we did that ourselves as a way to kind of pump each other up to go make more plays."
London Fletcher, who played in Buffalo when Williams was the head coach and for Washington when Williams was the Redskins' defensive coordinatr, said, to his knowledge, no such bounty system existed.
"In my 14 years in the NFL, rarely do you have a player say, 'I want to injure another player. I want to hurt another player,'" Fletcher told NFL.com. "There's a brotherhood amongst us. We all play this game. We're trying to make money, support our families. This is our livelihoods. To go out and intentionally hurt someone, that's not the mind-set.”