Darren Sharper denies Saints had bounties for hurting opponents

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There’s been a report that the Saints had a $10,000 bounty on knocking Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the NFC Championship Game in 2010, but a starter for that team calls that and other allegations that there were rewards for defenders for causing injuries “ridiculous.”

Darren Sharper spoke to NFL.com and flatly denied that there were cash payments offered in the Saints’ locker room to players who injured members of other teams. Sharper did admit that cash was changing hands among members of the Saints defense, but that they were limited to interceptions, sacks and other legal plays and that practices of that kind go on around the NFL.

“I think this is something that, from when I got in the league in 1997, has happened thousands and thousands of times over,” Sharper said. “It’s ridiculous that someone is trying to say that we made bounties on knocking guys out, when basically all it was is that when a guy gets an interception, then he might get paid. That’s something that guys do amongst themselves.”

This probably won’t be the last we hear from other former Saints and players from around the league who have played for Gregg Williams. Retired offensive tackle Damien Woody, who never played for Williams, said on Twitter that bounty programs “happen all over the league.” The big difference is that the Saints got nabbed by the league for this one.

76 responses to “Darren Sharper denies Saints had bounties for hurting opponents

  1. Protecting his guys. I respect that and I might do the same, but the guy who started it (Williams) just admitted to it, so don’t insult our intelligence Darren.

  2. Seriously, why listen to/repeat anything the Saints players from that seaon had to say? You’d get as an honest answer by asking the cat if he ate the canary…

  3. Well your coach has already apologized and said it was a mistake…so… how do you explain that?

  4. This is going to be blown up much like spygate. Neither of which are a big deal. This won’t get so much notoriety though because everyone hates the patriots for being so great. I will be stunned if doucheburger Goodell actually punishes everyone involved as badly as NE and BB got it because Goodall has personal agendas but this definitely get made into a huge ordeal and it definitely should not. Football is football, it’s violent and competitive. Can we stop trying to ruin it with all of this BS?

  5. Yeah, he’s lying through his teeth. His DC admitted to it, and there are thousands of pages of proof. Fess up Sharper. Your Super Bowl ring has a New Orleans TAINT.

    Sorry Ain’ts fans, there is nothing you can do to justify this. The team from the GM, to the coach, to the team captains are complicit in this. It’s over.

  6. 18000 documents. 18 thousand. 50 thousand pages.

    Or Darren Sharper’s word.

    Are we far enough past Katrina to hope for this team to get slammed by Goodell? I think so.

  7. Well I for one don’t think Sharper had anything to do with it, that’s his playstyle, he’s just da haaaaaaardest hittin’ safety in duh leeeeeeeeeege.

  8. They were knowingly doing something illegal in the NFL for 3 years! Played 50+ games rewarding players to injure their opponent. Disgusting and indefensible. Regardless of who your favorite team is, this shouldn’t be acceptable.

  9. Keep your pie hole firmly shut, Darren. You’re looking like a bigger idiot by lying.

  10. hey804 says: Mar 2, 2012 7:54 PM

    I still don’t get why this is such a big deal.


    Its a big deal because of the blatant PR denial by the NFL that this is a brutally violent sport.

    As a Vikes fan, I have no problem that Saints took post-whistle shots at Favre’s knees. Players get paid to win, and the refs get paid to call penalties/ejections. No Saints were ever penalized on those hits, so who cares if there was a “bounty” to knock Farve out of the game?

    If only the Vikes had some “bonus funds” available if Brees happened to find himself on crutches in the 2nd half. they might have won.

  11. darren doesn’t realize that he was excluded from that conversation because he hits like a girl.

    no offense to you girls out there, just sayin.

  12. vikingsinla says: Mar 2, 2012 8:06 PM

    hey804 says: Mar 2, 2012 7:54 PM

    I still don’t get why this is such a big deal.


    Its a big deal because of the blatant PR denial by the NFL that this is a brutally violent sport.

    As a Vikes fan, I have no problem that Saints took post-whistle shots at Favre’s knees. Players get paid to win, and the refs get paid to call penalties/ejections. No Saints were ever penalized on those hits, so who cares if there was a “bounty” to knock Farve out of the game?

    If only the Vikes had some “bonus funds” available if Brees happened to find himself on crutches in the 2nd half. they might have won.


    vikes fan, also. with our d line at the time, i was furious that there wasn’t adequate retaliation..

    that’s not saying i ever hope for injury like those douches obviously did, just bruise em right back.


    game’s over though, it was a hell of one. still happy that drew could snag one if it wasn’t us.

  13. Oh, $h!t! Darren Sharper! One of the most hardest hittin’ safeties in the leeeeague!

  14. Idiot!!!

    Umm Guess you didn’t talk to those PR guys… Who protect your image and keep you from looking like an idiot. Before opening you mouth get on the same page with your fellow rule breakers.

    That is what you pay them for use them moron!

  15. LOL I’m not surprised nobody told sharper about it. It was probably kept amongst the players who arent scared to tackle.

  16. Do you think he’s going to say Yea I got paid extra by the Saints DC to hurt players & the HC & GM knewall about it

  17. Darren Sharper is the most over rated defensive player in the history of this league.

    he benefited from other players good plays, meaning, if somebody tips a ball or has good coverage, he picks up the trash. he was an embarassment of a tackler. he couldn’t cover Moss if his life depended on it in Green Bay. he couldn’t cover period. he just happened to be in the right spot to pick up a fumble or a deflected pass. he allowed more wide open TD’s as a viking than i ever saw by any viking in a secondary, including tyrell johnson.

    he was a liability in the 2009 game against the vikings and he was getting destroyed by manning in the superbowl. tracy porter bailed him out. the saints saw how awful he had become, so they basically told him to be a towel boy.

  18. Is this stupidity or rhetoric? He better hope it is a lack of brain function that made him say those lies to us.

    The league should take this guy’s rhetoric and use it as their fuel to pull a “the straw that broke the camel’s back” move and shut this thing down tight.

    Personally I recommend firing anything that moves during the next couple weeks regarding the bounties.

  19. I smell a disgruntled ex-player snitching because he was benched or cut. Could be more then one.

  20. If it was the lions you all would be happy to jump the anti Detroit band wagon that you like to ride when it passes through your town , like you did when suh stomped on the cheese heads hand , but since it’s the saints you will just let them pass like its nothing even though they tried to take out and seriously injure other teams most valuable players .I hope they all get suspended and expose nfl as the one sided fraud that it is

  21. @ detroitcityryda

    What Ndamustomp did was straight up dirty, but he took his suspension like a man, and showed some maturity by acknowledging that it was warranted instead of complaining about it like a little bitch. Maybe you should take a page out of his book?

    Your team isn’t nearly good enough for you to have an “anti-Detroit bandwagon” contingent, and you are the only one-sided fraud I see.

  22. If only Williams and Sharper and Co. had a tackle bounty in the 2011 playoffs, a 7-9 team wouldn’t have punted them out with a Marshawn Lynch epic run.

    Had respect for the Saints, not anymore. I hope the Rams continue to be the basement of the NFC West with Williams there now.

  23. We all hate detroit as a City not just the football team… The only being exported out of detriot is your drug dealers…. Cancer to Ohio, Indiana, Penn. West Virginia, Kentucky

  24. The story isn’t so much why is Sharper denying but why aren’t most teams being questioned. This is a leaguewide practice and to think otherwise is naive.

  25. It’s simple. The entire coaching staff of the Saints must be released and banned from the game, the players involved must be banned from the game…or the Saints franchise should be revoked. There is no room for behavior like this in the league. What a pathetic organization.

  26. I assume they just didn’t tell him about it cause they didn’t wanna lose all their money to OH NO! IT’S DARREN CHOPPA! ONE OF THE HARDEST HITTING SAFETIES IN THE LEAGUE!

  27. Too late dumb ass. Your courageous leader Gregg Williams already admitted it.

    Who Dat cheating and injuring? The New Orleans “forever tainted title” Saints.

    Saints – what an oxymoron!

  28. The actions spoke louder than words. Saints sold their souls for a super bowl championship and the league turned a blind eye to it.

  29. Sharper, get yourself up to speed on the story. It’s no longer a question of “if”. Your coach already gave his confession. All we are waiting for are the penalties, civil lawsuits and quite possibly RICO indictments.

    Instead of calling the media, you’d better start calling lawyers.

  30. Sharper is a liar. At the time of the game he said it was their game plan to knock Farve out of the game, as well as Warner the week before.

  31. Is he aware that the league has over 50,000 pages of evidence that supports this? And that virtually everyone in the league knew what the Saints were up to? It’s a little late to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

  32. “uh, greg williams already has apologized for it. kind of hard to argue with that one darren.”

    “Then when asked about his coach admitting it he lied.”

    “ItS ok darren…he admitted it…”

    “Somebody tell this idiot his coach admitted to it!”

    Except, of course, that Greg Williams did not admit to it. What he admitted to was helping to administer a “pay-for-performance” bonus pool. Williams has yet to admit that performance rewarded included injuring other players. Nothing Williams said in his apology contradicts what Sharper has said.

    There is a lot of confusion in the rush to moral outrage here.

  33. Here is Williams apology for those who haven’t read it in its entirety:

    “I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the ‘pay for performance’ program while I was with the Saints. It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.”

    Pay for performance. Exactly what Sharper said. But pay for interceptions and sacks or pay for injury???? Nothing in Williams statement alludes to bonuses for injuring other players.

  34. Now this is an important distinction because even a pay-for-performance bonus for things like interceptions is against league rules. This is called a “Non-Contract Bonus” and they violate both the NFL Constitution and By-Laws and the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Everyone in the NFL knows this. Therefore, it make no sense to say that Williams would have no reason to apologize if the bonuses did not include bonuses for injuring players. What Darren Sharper describes is still an NFL violation. But it is NOT this type of violation that has people grabbing their pitchforks in these comments and elsewhere.

    The NFL DOES say that they have evidence that these bonuses included bounties but no one from the Saints organization has admitted to this, including Greg Williams.

  35. “Is he aware that the league has over 50,000 pages of evidence that supports this? ”

    There are not “50,000” pages of evidence to support a bounty program. The NFL reviewed “50,000” documents as part of their investigation. There’s a difference. We have no idea what portion of these contained evidence of anything much less evidence of a bounty program specifically.

  36. As a former player all who have answered an are in disbelief need to be real. This has and will remain happening in the NFL for the rest of the leagues existence. It is just sad that someone came out and talked about this and now they will be penilized but it won’t stop the cash on hand game within the game. But to say the championship is tainted and this blahhh and that blahhhh guess the offense had nothing to do with it and who dat . Ps have fun with this one !!

  37. I’m extremely surprised that no one is talking about the Tweet Darren sent out before the 2009 game vs. the Vikings.
    “X-Marks the spot” kinda sounds like injury was a goal….

  38. I hate to interrupt this forum with facts, but Williams admitted to “Pay for Performance.” Sharper denied that guys took *illegal* shots with intent to injure, because no one would risk getting fined $20,000 to make an illegal hit that earned him a $1,000 bounty. They are actually saying the same thing.

    Let’s see the evidence before we perform lethal injection on those involved.

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