Former Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski speaks at the 2010 Raider Nation Celebration (photo by Levi Damien)
There are two sides to the spectrum on the idea of a team running a bounty program. One side would be that of a quarterback and since we have already heard from Brett Favre and a few others, that is out of the way.
The other side would be that of a guy like Bill Romanowski who was known for being one of the most vicious linebackers in football.
Here is some of what he had to say:
"I can honestly say that I was never on a team where there was actually a bounty put out, but what I will say about this, and the more I read into it and look at it ... I want press to calm down a little bit and realize and take a look at the sport of football and realize that it is a violent sport. You're paid, on defense, to knock the living daylights out of people. The harder you hit people, the more you are paid, the more you are respected, the more you are liked, the more you are cheered. It's a reality. Gregg Williams is a phenomenal defensive coordinator, has done a great job for a lot of years, is a great football coach. Ronnie Lott used to give out, my first couple years in the league with Ronnie, he'd say $500 for anyone who gets a sack this week. ... In a way, this was no more than a, call it a reward, call it an incentive, call it something, for playing really physical football. You never want to go out there with a goal to hurt another football player."
"I took myself to a very dark place and I used to say really violent, mean, hurtful things in my head to get myself amped up to take that field. But trust me, and I really do believe that Gregg Williams did not want to hurt opponents. I really believe that this was kind of a thing where, think about it guys, these guys are making millions of dollars, and to hand out $1,500 when that guy might get a check that week for $200,000 ... to me it's no more than a company that walks in and says whatever sales rep does the best this week, you're going to get a $100 gift certificate to Ruth Chris."
"I think there are just these little motivation, different things you do that rally a defense, rally a team, rally a group of linebackers. Maybe it's me saying to my fellow linebackers, ‘You know what, let's see if we can knock someone out today.' I talked about this through the playoffs. Think about the way that the 49ers play defense and how aggressive they were and how violent they were. All we're doing is saying, ‘Hey, for doing that, as a team, taking pride, hitting people as hard as you possibly can, if that guy, within the rules of playing defense, happened to be carted out on a stretcher because you imposed your will on him and hit him so hard that he landed on his back and the only things that were moving were his arms and legs ... and they had to bring the stretcher out but you were playing within the rules of the game now we have a better chance to win."