Notwithstanding the denial from Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma regarding his role in the team’s bounty program, it’s not the first time Vilma’s name has been connected to the concept of a bounty.
As Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports reported in connection with his investigation into the activities of former University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, Vilma received money for applying hits to quarterbacks while playing for the Hurricanes.
Shapiro claimed he had a $5,000 bounty on Florida State quarterback Chris Rix from 2002 through 2004. “We pounded the [expletive] out of that kid,” Shapiro said regarding Rix. “Watch the tape of those games. You’ll see so many big hits on him. Guys were all going after that $5,000 in cash. [Jon] Vilma tried to kill him — just crushed him — a couple of times trying to get that $5,000. And he almost got it, too.”
Though Vilma never got the $5,000, he reportedly received $1,000 for a hit and personal foul penalty on Rix in October 2002 and $1,000 for a hit on Rix in January 2004.
Vilma didn’t respond to Robinson’s request for comment. To date, Vilma has never responded to the allegation that he received money for hits applied to Rix.