Former Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Josh Evans said Saturday the team had a player-run incentive program for big plays when Gregg Williams was an assistant coach.
Evans told The New York Times that the system already was prevalent within the Houston Oilers' organization in 1995 when he was signed as an undrafted free agent and Williams was the linebackers coach. The program remained when the team moved to Tennessee in 1997 and Williams was promoted to defensive coordinator, Evans said.
"It was a thing where veterans and guys on defense always put up money for things that might change the game -- hard hits, interceptions, sacks," Evans told The Times. "I have never known Gregg to say, 'Try to hurt somebody.' Guys were rewarded for making a big play or a hard hit. He probably knew. I don't think he went against it."
Williams was found to have administered a "pay for performance" program that included "bounty" payments for New Orleans Saints players from 2009 to 2011. An NFL investigation revealed that players received $1,500 for a "knockout" hit and $1,000 for a "cart-off" hit, with payouts doubling or tripling in playoff games.
Evans, who remained with the Titans through Williams' tenure with team, said he couldn't recall the coach giving instructions to intentionally injure an opponent, save for one 1997 regular-season game in which he wanted Tennessee defenders to retaliate for an earlier hit on one of their teammates.
"It's just different times now because back in the day, this stuff was part of football and nobody ever went out to try to end a guy's career, because we all had families," Evans told The Times. "But I would be lying if I said you didn't want to knock a guy's butt off."
Williams reportedly used a "bounty" system as defensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins and as head coach of the Buffalo Bills.