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Sunday, March 4, 2012
Did Manning injury stem from bounty?

By Pat Yasinskas

Another day, another potentially ugly twist to the scandal involving the New Orleans Saints and what the NFL says was a “bounty program’’ to provide financial incentives for injuring opponents.

The latest development doesn’t involve the Saints directly, but it involves their former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who has been described as having been at the center of the bounty program. Williams previously was defensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins.

Former Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy has said a hit on Peyton Manning in a 2006 game with the Redskins may have started the neck problems that eventually sidelined the Colts quarterback all of last season.

The league reportedly also is looking into allegations that Williams used a similar bounty program when he was with the Redskins.

Things aren’t looking good for Williams, who left the Saints to join the St. Louis Rams in January, right now. Although the latest developments don’t really involve the Saints, they’re certainly not going to help them when commissioner Roger Goodell hands out discipline that could include fines, suspensions and the loss of draft picks.

Player safety has been a big emphasis by Goodell and the bounty program runs totally counter to the commissioner’s wishes.

Throw in the fact that Dungy is universally respected throughout the league and the last thing the league wants is marquee players like Manning missing entire seasons and perhaps putting their careers in jeopardy. The Saints weren’t involved in the Manning situation.

But Williams might have played a role in that. If he did, it’s not going to reflect on the Saints when Goodell looks at the totality of the circumstances.