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Bernard Pollard blasts Roger Goodell for Saints bounty punishments

There are many schools of thought surrounding the Saints bounty program and the way in which Roger Goodell has handled it. On one side, you have people like Eli Manning who believe there is no place in football for rewarding a player for injuring an opponent. On the other, you have someone like LaDainian Tomlinson who doesn’t even think the Saints should have been punished. Bernard Pollard is one of those Tomlinson people. In fact, he may even be one of those James Harrison people.

“It really has gotten way out of hand,” Pollard said during an interview with KILT in Houston. “You’re penalizing a coach for coming out of his pocket to say, ‘If somebody hits this guy — not hit him illegally, hit him — and take him out’ … First game we played the Houston Texans they (played) without Andre Johnson. We were happy. You know what I’m saying? It’s just one of those things where nobody’s trying to be mean, but at the end of the day if you don’t have a good player, that is a edge you have to win, or to help your offense. So it’s gotten way out of hand.”

It isn’t just the bounty punishment that Pollard takes issue with. He did add that he doesn’t want “to say anything against Roger Goodell” — so he’s saying “with all due respect” — but Bernard also believes flags for illegal hits have reached a ridiculous point as well.

“Well, when a receiver catches the ball, he’s trying to get to the ground,” he said. “But we were already in that position first — now … helmet-to-helmet, but now you’re penalizing the defender and give them 15 yards plus the reception. It’s getting out of hand. This is not powderpuff football, this is not flag football. This is a violent sport.”

Guys like Pollard and Harrison can complain all they want, but the rules aren’t going to change. If anything, the league will continue to do more to protect its players. Those who can’t learn to adjust will continue to cost their teams.

Photo credit: Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE

Jonathan Vilma and Peter King are beefing on Twitter

Jonathan Vilma and Peter King traded a few shots over Twitter Tuesday after King pointed out that the Saints were signing linebackers to prepare for potential bounty suspensions. The Sports Illustrated NFL writer singled out Vilma with this tweet:

King sent the message shortly after the Saints signed linebacker David Hawthorne. Vilma played dumb, responding to King “that u know how to type peoples names??” Vilma then called King a blogger, saying he was doing “reckless journalism.”

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George Henshaw, who coached with Gregg Williams and under Sean Payton, never heard of bounty programs, is disappointed

George Henshaw coached for 20 years in the NFL including time as offensive coordinator of the John Elway-led Denver Broncos, and Dan Reeves’ New York Giants. He was part of the same Titans coaching staff as defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from 1997-2000, and he was a coach on Sean Payton’s Saints staff in 2006 and 2007. LBS spoke with Henshaw, who now serves as an NCSA college recruiting expert, about the Saints bounty program, and he expressed surprise and disappointment over what went on in New Orleans.

Asked if he had heard anything about bounties while he was on the coaching staff with Williams in Tennessee, Henshaw said no.

“That didn’t go on with the Titans,” Henshaw told Larry Brown Sports. “I coached for 38 years, 20 of them in the NFL, and never heard anything like this. That’s why it was so shocking. I don’t think [bounties] goes on except for this case, unfortunately.”

“I was very surprised in the beginning,” Henshaw said when asked for his reaction to the news. “Then after I found out they were telling the truth [about the bounty program], I became disappointed that people in the same profession made those judgments.”

The harsh penalties handed down to the Saints have been debated, but Henshaw agrees with them.

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Roger Goodell became Wyatt Earp penalizing Saints for their bounty program

Have you ever found yourself sitting around, lamenting about the good old days, when bounties were prevalent and harsh justice was being served? Well, perhaps now would be a good time to get that bowler hat out of storage. If you missed it, last week brought some degree of closure to a story that was the pigskin equivalent of “Unforgiven.” The Duke of Death purportedly was played by a guy who spells the name Greg with an extra ‘g’.

The disclosure of the Saints’ tomfoolery involving paying players bonuses to harm opposing players could have easily been filed under the name “No Country for Old Men” since it was revealed that the system was put into place into 2009 around the time when the Saints were steamrolling veteran quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Brett Favre in the playoffs, forcing them into premature NFL-AARP status. This policy was in place for at least three seasons. If nothing else, at least I know have a scapegoat for my recent fantasy football failures: The notorious nattering nabobs of negativism Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton, and Gregg Williams should have been fined an extra fifty dollars in a vain attempt for me to recoup my fantasy losses.

The notion of bounties conjures up images of the Old West — the actual West that is, not the one that the NFL conceived of in the 1970s that included New Orleans, Atlanta, and at one point, North Carolina and St. Louis. One week ago, Commissioner Roger Goodell stepped into the role of Wyatt Earp. Nope, there was no OK Corral, but he did play on the Crescent City’s acronym by declaring a hearty “N-O” to the Saints’ shenanigans.

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Mike Ditka: Saints bounty penalties were too harsh, ‘Sean Payton is a good guy’

Mike Ditka doesn’t approve of bounties in a game that’s already violent enough, but he thinks the Saints were penalized too harshly by commissioner Roger Goodell.

“I think it’s way too harsh, I really do. I think you have to look at the whole situation,” Ditka told “The Jorge Sedano Show” on 790 The Ticket in Miami. “But I don’t know who knew what, when they knew it, or anything like that.”

Ditka freely admits he’s judging the penalties though he’s not completely informed on the matter. Is it possible that he’s influenced by personal biases? Sure seems like it.

“Sean Payton is a good guy,” he told Sedano. “He’s a good guy. He didn’t tell somebody to go out there and maim somebody. And neither did Mickey Loomis. They had a little bounty system with the defense, and that’s where it was.

“I think the suspension is way too severe. I think a fine, a loss of a draft pick or two draft picks or something would have been just as sufficient. But I do understand what the commissioner is saying,” said Ditka.

Ditka says he saw his players targeted by opposing defenses when he was coaching the Bears. Though he wouldn’t name the team, he says one squad had towels hanging down from their belts with numbers and names of the people they were targeting. He says the players were getting bonuses for that, and he can’t understand why players would do such a thing.

“It’s kind of crazy why people would try to hurt each other in a game where it’s so easy to get hurt just playing the game. Why would you go out and intentionally try and hurt somebody? It makes no sense to me.”

Though I agree with his last comment, I disagree with his assessment of the punishments. If Ditka believes it’s wrong for players to target each other for monetary bonuses, then he should support penalties that get everyone’s attention to send the message that you better not do it. Maybe he’s just trying to get on Sean Payton’s good side so he can become New Orleans’ interim coach.

Jeremy Shockey tweets screen shot of a text conversation with Sean Payton to prove their relationship is fine

After word surfaced that Sean Payton had been suspended for a full year as part of the punishment for the Saints bounty program, Warren Sapp accused Jeremy Shockey of being the “snitch.” Sapp sent out a tweet despite the fact that he had absolutely no evidence for what he was saying, and Shockey was understandably furious over it. Jeremy blasted Warren for the tweet and we told you exactly how we feel about Sapp for doing something that irresponsible. On Thursday, Shockey offered further proof that his relationship with Payton is fine when he tweeted a screen shot of a text conversation between him and his former coach:

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Chris Kluwe goes on expletive-filled Twitter rant over Saints bounty program

The punishment handed down to the Saints by the NFL as a result of their bounty program is the harshest in NFL history. Before Wednesday, there was speculation that New Orleans would have to pay massive fines and have to forfeit draft picks, Gregg Williams would face the heaviest sanctions, and Sean Payton would be suspended for a few games. All of that is true aside from the Payton part, as the Saints coach has been suspended for a full year. Many believe the punishment is over the top, but the always-outspoken Chris Kluwe fully supported Goodell and the person who sold the Saints out via his Twitter account:

The decision is only several hours old, but Kluwe’s opinion is the strongest we’ve seen since the news broke. The Payton suspension left the Saints coach “stunned” and Drew Brees “shocked,” but there are plenty of people like Kluwe who believe the sanctions will help preserve the integrity and safety of the game. The Vikings punter just happened to express it quite eloquently.

Thanks to Jimmy Traina for providing the edited tweets