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Former Bills safety Wire reveals 'bounty' system under Williams

  • By NFL.com
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Gregg Williams has coached hundreds of players during his NFL career, meaning there's no shortage of opinions in regard to his "bounty" system that the league exposed Friday.

One such example comes via Coy Wire, a former safety who played under Williams during his run as the Buffalo Bills' head coach from 2001 to 2003.

Wire told The Buffalo News in Sunday's editions that "there was financial compensation" for delivering hits that seriously injured opponents, and three other former teammates, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also confirmed it to the newspaper.

Wire said an environment of "malicious intent" already was entrenched upon his 2002 arrival in Buffalo.

"What Williams did was wrong, and I know that now," Wire said. "My sense of normalcy was warped. I thought what I was doing was right."

Wire cited a clean hit made on Detroit Lions running back James Stewart during a 2003 preseason game. Stewart -- who had rushed for more than 1,000 yards the previous season -- badly damaged his shoulder on the play and was forced to retire at the age of 31.

"Now, it's unthinkable that was my reality," Wire said. "I shattered James Stewart's shoulder, and he never played again. I was showered with praise for that. It's a shame that's how it was. Now I see how wrong that was."

Williams apologized Friday for the "bounty" system he put in place during his time as the New Orleans Saints' defensive coordinator. The Washington Post reported Saturday that the league plans to investigate "bounty" claims made during his time as the Redskins' defensive coordinator, the job he took after the Bills fired him.

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