Former Minnesota Vikings star wide receiver Cris Carter became a first when he admitted to placing bounties on opposing players during an appearance on ”Hill and Schlereth” on ESPN Radio on Tuesday night. Carter lasted 16-years in the league and admits that he used bounties as a form of protection.
“I’m guilty of (bounties) — I mean first time I’ve ever admitted it — but I put a bounty on guys before,” said Carter. “I put bounties on guys. If a guy tries to take me out, a guy takes a cheap shot on me? I put a bounty on him right now! I’d tell one of them guards, ‘Hey man this dude is after me, man’”
Carter remembered one instance very clearly. The moment that Carter recalled was a pre-game confrontation with Denver Broncos linebacker Bill Romanowski.
“Bill Romanowski — he told me he was going to take me out before the game, warmups. No problem. (He said,) ‘I’m gonna end your career Carter.’ No problem. “I put a little change on his head before the game. Protect myself. Protect my family. That’s the league that I grew up in.”
Bounties have been a hot topic in the league, since the NFL brought down the hammer on the New Orleans Saints organization for their intricate pay-for-performance system. Multiple players and coaches were suspended as a result of the league’s investigation, but if you listen to Carter, the problem likely wasn’t an isolated incident.
“Listen, on the football field you only got certain protection and your teammates are part of that protection. It’s built in and if I’m playing a certain position where I can’t protect myself — how can the quarterback protect himself? But for his teammates to stand up and do something,” Carter said. “There are certain positions you can’t protect yourself.
“The center? How can he protect himself? He’s snapping the ball every time. Like if someone is taking a cheap shot on him? No problem. We’ve got a way to work that out.”
Perhaps the most important part of Carter’s comments was the explanation he gave about bounties. Carter insists that bounties are just used as motivation and a way to encourage your teammates to give their all. No one is trying to go out and intentionally injure anyone.
” … But you have to realize the league we grew up in, the bounty was based on protection, or a big hit, excitement or for helping your team win. It wasn’t to maim or hurt the dude,” said Carter. “When a guy said he was going to hurt me, my recourse was to put a bounty on him to make sure.”
Carter’s comments are likely to stir the pot and bring out the people who have been calling for the heads of all of those involved in the bounty scandal, but it is about time someone spoke up and was realistic about the situation. Bounties have been a part of the game for a long time and despite what the commissioner may want you to believe, they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.