“He called it a ‘kill shot,’ meaning you got good money for taking another player out of the game who meant something to that team,” a Redskin who played for Williams said on condition of anonymity. “I never got money myself, but I know folks who did. Sean Taylor made more money than all of us, I can tell you that.”
As much as pro football wants to prevent concussions and long-term brain and body injuries, there is only so much medical care and compassion available when your job description involves physically emasculating another man.
But there is a difference between giving out a “Hit Stick,” awarded to the Redskin who made the biggest hit each week by current special teams coach Danny Smith, and Williams’s open bounties on big-name offensive stars.
For one, it’s banned by the agreement between the league and its players. And in the case of Saints Coach Sean Payton, who knew of the program, it represents a lack of institutional control, an almost renegade mentality that corrupts a sport already carting body after body off the field without bounties.
Maybe Williams becomes the first of many overzealous coaches to get caught in the NFL for this practice. Maybe the Browns letting Colt McCoy back on the field after a malicious James Harrison dropped him like a rag doll this past December is a worse crime against the game.
But another anecdote that tells you how much larger than the game Williams thought he was, how crass and out of line he has conducted himself in a job that promotes wild-eyed men routinely for their ugly side:
Williams never told Gibbs, the supposed man in charge, that he was planning to put 10 men on the field to honor Taylor, the missing man, on the first play of the first game after Taylor’s death. It’s not an offense worth firing someone over, but it showed a clear disregard for the authority of a Hall of Fame coach who gave Williams a job in Washington.
Gregg Williams has been acting above the rules for too long. Now that’s he found out, it’s time to send a real message in an NFL sick and tired of seeing its former players slur their words and hobble around on arthritic limbs:
Cut off the coach, and the career will die.
For Mike Wise’s previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/wise.