Cris Carter: I made payments for protection, not injuries

Former NFL wide receiver Cris Carter clarified his previous comments about participating in a "bounty" system, saying Wednesday that he paid teammates to protect him rather than injure opposing players.

Carter drew a line between the payments he made and the ones that New Orleans Saints players received from coaches for knocking players out of games.

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"We had a reward system and a protection system," Carter said Wednesday on ESPN Radio. "We would reward players for big plays, things that can help your team win. And then also, we paid guys money for protection, especially guys who couldn't protect themselves and especially offensive players."

In the original interview Carter conducted with ESPN Radio on Tuesday, the former wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins cited the payment he offered in exchange for protection against former NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski as a prime example of what he used to do. Romanowski threatened Carter before the first play of the game, Carter said, though the linebacker denied the allegation in a separate radio interview.

"Bill Romanowski was one of the most feared players to play, not only because of his intensity, but because he played through the whistle and after the whistle," Carter said Wednesday. "If he could hurt you, Bill Romanowski would hurt you. So if he told me that if I came across the middle he would take my 'bleeping head off,' I took that serious. My recourse -- based on my terminology -- I put a bounty on him. I told an offensive lineman or two to watch him. They're going to go after him, but you're not going to hurt him.

"I think we got a regular conversation and a football conversation mixed up."

Carter said he had no regrets about making the payments, saying they were necessary to ensure his safety.

And though he said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's punishments against Saints players were excessive -- Jonathan Vilma was suspended for the 2012 season -- Carter said he believed that team's "bounty" system crossed a line.

"I would not pay the guy if I asked for protection and the guy would be injured. ... That's not the way the game is supposed to be played. It's just not."

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