Detroit Lions safety Chris Harris said he was not surprised by the news that Gregg Williams administered a "pay for performance" system with the New Orleans Saints that featured "bounty" payments for injuring opposing players, saying such practices likely predate his time in the league.
Harris said the Lions did not issue bounties last year and that he did not know how many NFL teams did. But player-organized programs entailing payments for big plays happen "all around the league," Harris said, though he did not go into further detail.
"I think that's been going on way longer than I've been in the league," Harris said, according to the Detroit Free Press. "Like I said, I think it's just part of the culture. It's something that's been going on forever. Not saying it's right, but that's from past cultures."
The NFL announced Friday that 22 to 27 Saints players participated in Williams' program from 2009 to 2011. Three sources and former safety Coy Wire told The Buffalo News that Williams ran a similar system as head coach of the Buffalo Bills. The NFL reportedly will investigate claims made by five Washington Redskins players and a former coach that he also used the program as defensive coordinator for the team, according to The Washington Post.
Ron Rice, who played defensive back for the Lions from 1996 to 2001, told the Free Press he thought the Saints' bounty system was most likely "an isolated incident," though he said he knew of player-organized payments for big plays.
"You go out and say, 'If you get an interception in this game,' or, 'I got $100 that I'll get the interception,'" Rice said. "Or if you got a kick returner, he'll pay the whole return team for every touchdown that he scores. Things like that. But that's all internal things amongst players. Coaches were never involved in it."