The man who handed the Gregg Williams audio to Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports have now given Silver another intriguing nugget of information.
Per Silver, the recording captured by Sean Pamphilon the night before the Saints faced the 49ers in the 2012 NFC divisional playoffs includes Williams paying a pair of Saints defenders for hits applied during a wild-card win over the Lions seven days earlier.
The tape, which Pamphilon played last month for NFL Security, reveals that Saints safety Roman Harper and former Saints linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar received $200 for “whacks.” The league, per Silver, considers the evidence to be further proof of a bounty system.
But “whack” doesn’t mean in the NFL what it means in New Jersey. In fact, it may not mean that injury of any kind was inflicted. Two NFLPA sources tell Silver that a “whack” is a “forceful yet clean and legal play by a defender,” making the payment more like a pay-for-performance issue, and less like a bounty.
“A ‘whack’ hit isn’t a hit that injures a player,” one unnamed Saints defender told Silver. “It’s the equivalent of a ‘pancake’ for an offensive lineman – a clean hit that knocks a defender on his ass. Everyone who knows Gregg knows what that means.”
It gets more complicated when players are paid for “cart-offs,” which may or may not entail a player being “carted off.” Friday’s report from Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports that three $1,000 payments made after a 2009 regular-season game between the Saints and the Panthers doesn’t address what the payments specifically were for. Were three members of the Panthers’ offense “carted off” during the game? Were three of them injured at all?
And so the question of whether there was a bounty system in New Orleans continues to be unclear. Cole appeared on Wednesday’s PFT Live to discuss his report regarding the Saints’ ledger. The full segment can be seen by clicking the PFT Live link above. The stuff about the ledger appears below.