Former Redskins offensive tackle George Starke said ex-Washington coach Joe Gibbs used to hand out $100 bills to his players for specific plays, including hits that knocked down the opposing quarterback.
"In the meeting after the game, Joe Gibbs would come in, he'd have a fistful of $100 bills," Starke told ESPN on Monday night, via The Washington Post. "And if Dexter (Manley) knocked the quarterback down three times, he would get three $100 bills. And Joe would pass the money out in the meeting, and we would have to duck."
Gibbs told the Post on Tuesday that such incentive-based pay was within NFL rules at the time.
"In my first stint coaching the Redskins, we did have an incentive program in place to recognize the guys for outstanding plays made within the rules of the game," Gibbs said. "Back then there was no salary cap and the incentive program we used was within the league rules. We had all kinds of incentives, including dinners at local restaurants, radios, the chance to sit in a La-Z-Boy recliner during team meetings and cash rewards. To be clear -- we only used rewards as a motivational tool and to recognize the guys who made positive plays in the game each week."
The NFL announced Friday that 22 to 27 defensive players on the New Orleans Saints maintained a "pay for performance" program that included "bounty" payments administered by then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons. Williams was Washington's defensive coordinator under Gibbs from 2004 through 2007.
Former Redskins assistant Greg Blache told the Post this week that Gibbs didn't know anything about an alleged "pay for performance" system that existed under Williams in Washington.
Starke's comments only pertain to Gibbs' first tenure in D.C., from 1981 to 1992.
"I want to be clear, I don't believe that Gregg Williams ever asked anybody to hurt anybody. I don't believe that," Starke said. "I don't know Gregg Williams, but players don't do that. I've never seen a player, ever, intentionally try to hurt another player.
"Knock him out? Of course. You've got to knock them out. We're paid to knock them out. Really, when I hear people talk about hurting someone, I'm thinking trying to hurt his knee or something like that. You've got to remember, it's not until very recently that this whole brain stuff has come up, so really, I'm not sure if the players today look at that the same."
"Yes, George Allen did in fact put a bounty on Roger Staubach of 200 bucks, and the bounty was to knock him out," Starke said. "Not hurt him. Let's be clear about that. Knock him out."