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Friday, March 23, 2012
Did Redskins have bounty on Alexander?

By Mike Sando

Allegations that the Gregg Williams-era Washington Redskins put a $15,000 bounty on Brad Johnson and also sought to injure Shaun Alexander caught my attention Friday.

Williams, suspended indefinitely from the NFL for his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, will miss at least the 2012 season, which was to be his first as the St. Louis Rams' defensive coordinator.

Seattle Seahawks fans should recall Williams' Redskins knocking out Alexander with a concussion when the teams faced one another in a divisional playoff game following the 2005 season. Alexander had recently been named league MVP. Stopping him was obviously a top priority for the Redskins.

Shaun Alexander
Running back Shaun Alexander was knocked out of a 2006 playoff game by a hit from the Redskins' LaVar Arrington.
"Gregg wanted us to get Shaun Alexander," a former Redskins player said anonymously, according to David Elfin. "Now it happened that [linebacker LaVar Arrington] knocked Shaun out of the game, but he was just playing hard. Unless it’s a free shot at the quarterback, you have a really hard time trying to hurt a guy when you’re making a play on the ball."

I've re-watched the game this morning and found nothing unusual about the hits Washington put on Alexander.

Alexander didn't seem to take a significant blow to the head on the play in question, though he remained on the ground for an extended period. Arrington appeared to land a more significant blow to Alexander's head area on a draw play earlier in the game, but Alexander popped up instantly and appeared fine.

"That last play was kind of the finisher," Alexander said at the time. "It was one of those plays where you're not sure whether it was a shoulder or a knee. I just got hit in the right spot. That's the thing about football; it is a game of inches."

The NFL made it clear Wednesday that Williams' suspension stemmed only from his involvement in the Saints' bounty system over the past three seasons. The league indicated "additional discipline" could be forthcoming if warranted.

"While NFL staff has interviewed people in connection with public allegations of bounty programs at other clubs," the NFL said in its statement Wednesday, "no evidence was established showing that the programs at other clubs involved targeting opposing players or rewarding players for injuring an opponent."