All-Pro wide receiver Cris Carter admitted to putting “bounties” on opposing players to protect him and other offensive playmakers during his time with the Minnesota Vikings. Carter would financially compensate teammates when defensive players verbally threatened him before a game.
“I’m guilty of (bounties) — I mean, first time I’ve ever admitted it — but I put a bounty on guys before,” Carter said. “I put bounties on guys. If a guy tries to take me out, a guy takes a cheap shot on me? I put a bounty on him right now!”
Linebackers seemed to be the main targets as they would taunt Carter before games.
“I’d tell one of them guards, ‘Hey man, this dude is after me, man,’” Carter said.
Carter also went on to say that it was not to specifically hurt a defensive player but more or less to keep an eye on him. Offensive lineman would check the linebackers during the game and later that week they would get a free meal out of it, courtesy of Carter.
“Bill Romanowski (Denver Broncos Pro Bowl linebacker) — he told me he was going to take me out before the game, warm-ups. No problem. (He said,) ‘I’m gonna end your career, Carter.’ No problem. “I put a little change on his head before the game. Protect myself. Protect my family. That’s the league that I grew up in,” Carter said.
When Randy Moss came into the league as a rookie there was no way he would be able to protect himself. Carter explained that a player who cannot even bench 225-pounds is not going to hold up against a linebacker who is specifically trying to cause harm. Therefore, he would step in and put some money on a player to ensure the safety of his rookie wide receiver.
“Listen, on the football field, you only got certain protection, and your teammates are part of that protection. It’s built in, and if I’m playing a certain position where I can’t protect myself — how can the quarterback protect himself? But for his teammates to stand up and do something,” Carter said. “There are certain positions you can’t protect yourself.
“The center? How can he protect himself? He’s snapping the ball every time. Like if someone is taking a cheap shot on him? No problem. We’ve got a way to work that out.”
This is not exactly shocking news considering we all knew bounties existed in the NFL before “bountygate” broke a few months back. However, to hear a player of Carter’s magnitude, a five-time Hall of Fame finalist, say he put bounties on player’s heads is a little unsettling. I understand it was to protect him as well as his livelihood, but the thought of offensive players paying other players for protection takes “bounties” to a whole new level. It is important to point out Carter never told his teammates to cause serious harm on purpose.
“But you have to realize the league we grew up in, the bounty was based on protection, or a big hit, excitement or for helping your team win. It wasn’t to maim or hurt the dude,” said Carter. “When a guy said he was going to hurt me, my recourse was to put a bounty on him to make sure.”
Carter has opened to floodgates for other former NFL players to talk about their experiences. The general public has already heard from several former defensive players about “bounties” in the locker room, but Carter is the first offensive player to openly discuss the topic. It is certainly an interesting take on the entire bounty ordeal considering “bounties” were originally thought of as a malicious way for defensive players to take out quarterbacks. Now, they also have to be considered as a form of protection.
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