Brett Favre believes he felt the extra hits stemming from the New Orleans Saints' now-famous “bounty” program. Peyton Manning might have potentially lost his career because of it. The word is now out on Gregg Williams and his years in the NFL of hosting a bounty program, awarding under-the-table cash payments to defensive players for knocking opposing players out of games with harsh hits. Peter King has the story this week and says that Manning is a possible mark.
Specifically, King relates a story from Tony Dungy linking Manning’s current neck injury back to a game against the Washington Redskins when Williams was coaching there. That was when Manning’s nerve issues started in his neck after an abnormally violent hit and helmet removal.
King writes, “There’s no evidence that Washington’s defenders had a bounty out on Manning that night. But it’s a question, surely, that begs to be asked. And if I were one of the league investigators interviewing Williams today, it’s certainly something I’d explore.”
If Manning doesn’t have that injury, the Colts are likely still players in the AFC South last season and hardly in line to draft Andrew Luck this offseason. More than that, the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs would not have the chance right now of bringing in an injured Manning in the hopes he can get healthy again this offseason. While Manning is officially still with the Colts, it’s clear that his price tag and health concerns are likely to get him cut sometime in the next week.
If Manning’s injury is linked back to Williams somehow and that fateful game against the Redskins, it will have led to an incredible string of events that affected much of the NFL.