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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Ronnie Lott: Bounties cross the line

Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott knows a thing or two about delivering a devastating blow. The San Francisco 49ers legend is widely considered to be one of the hardest hitters to ever play in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean he advocates intentionally injuring opponents.

In fact, Lott has worked with the NFL recently to promote players safety, even narrating a video that was sent to all 32 teams earlier this season explaining how players can still deliver vicious hits that are within the confines of the rules. He also served as a motivational speaker for the 2009 Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, but he says he would never condone the alleged bounty program that team has been accused of running.

“Personally, in my mind, that goes across the line,” Lott told Mike Triplett of The Times-Picayune.

Lott seems genuinely torn with regard to how he should feel about a team that he says was one of the most passionate he has ever been around. He says he never witnessed any players trying to injure opponents or being paid to do so, but he did not offer a very strong defense of the Saints.

“What was articulated about bounties and what happened, I didn’t see any of it,” Lott explained. “And when I looked at the games I always thought they played with a certain passion and a certain will to be champions. So that’s the things I witnessed and the things I enjoyed about that team. So to be characterized as they were, I think a lot of people had probably the wrong impression of the guys that played the game. And I think they had the wrong impression of how they went about it.

“But if the facts were the facts, and somebody says they have information …”

Lott went on to talk about how there is a big difference between knocking a player out with a big hit — which he did during his career — and game-planning to injure your opponents. Like many of us, the Hall of Famer seems to want to believe the Saints won their Super Bowl cleanly and that class acts like Drew Brees did it the right way. Unfortunately, evidence like this audio recording have left a foul taste in the mouths of many people.

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