Rams' Poppinga on Saints' scandal: 'Can't sit there and be silent'

At the time, the St. Louis Rams' decision to hire away defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from the New Orleans Saints looked like one of the early coups of the offseason.

In the wake of the Saints' ongoing "pay for performance" scandal, however, Williams' association with the Rams puts the franchise in an awkward situation as they wait to see what kind of punishment the NFL levies against Williams for his administration of a "bounty" program in New Orleans and reports of similar systems at some of his other coaching stops.

Williams' history doesn't sit well with one of his new players, as Rams linebacker Brady Poppinga blasted the allegations against Williams during a Thursday interview with FoxSports.com

"I just can't sit there and be silent," Poppinga said. "I look at this as an opportunity to share with the public that we, as football players, are not barbaric and out to try and destroy everything in our path. Football is my profession and I take it seriously. It's an art form. It's technical, strategic and takes a lot of intelligence to play.

"When this came out, it started to confirm the idea that football guys are idiots. That's not who we are. Ninety-five percent of the guys are very intelligent. It's just guys who love to go out and play a physical game."

Poppinga, who admitted during the interview that he's known of past incentive-based programs in the NFL, made it clear that Williams' tactics of encouraging hits that knock players out of the game were over the line. The seven-year veteran described the system as "animalistic," "repulsive" and "degrading."

"I've heard of other situations where there wasn't a bounty for hurting a guy, but guys throwing in $500 to all of the defense if they held a guy like (Minnesota Vikings running back) Adrian Peterson to less than 100 yards," said Poppinga, who had 51 tackles for the Rams in 2011. "But it was nothing like where there was actual programming for that and you talk about (injuring opponents)."

Poppinga said he's aware that his comments could make it less likely that he re-signs with the Rams when he becomes a free agent next week.

"If they're not going to want me on the team because of that, that's fine," Poppinga said. "It is what it is."

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